Berman Billings Killin' Time
Published Jun 27, 2018It's really a shame Justin Trudeau didn't manage to get pot legalized by July 1, because this record might have made the perfect soundtrack to Canada's first legal-weed summer.
Matt Berman and Jonathan Billings are no strangers to the jam band circuit. Berman has played for years with Must Stash Hat, and Billings, whose own Jonathan Billings Band is known to jam it out, is a somewhat of a semi-permanent special guest at Must Stash Hat shows. Their new, all-original duo album isn't exactly a departure from that tradition, but it's a welcome foray into the more country side of the jam band world. And that's a great thing.
Between Berman's acoustic guitar solos and Billings' pedal steel licks, the two musicians capture the spirit of the '60s bands that really set the tone for the jam bands that came after them. Though they don't claim them as an influence, their music sounds a lot like early Moby Grape, combining country-rock songs, like "I Don't Know Her Name" and "In the Afternoon" with floaty groove numbers, like "Drive North." And of course, you get those classic surprise jam interludes, like the trippy bridge in "Timeline," that punctuate the groove for a few moments before settling back into it.
This truly is a duo effort, with Berman and Billings playing all the instruments on the album, with the exception of guest drummer Greg Woods on two tracks. And it's a good thing Killin' Time is available on vinyl, because the band clearly have analogue sensibilities. It's as fun to listen to as it must have been to make. (Independent)