Schramms 100 Questions

He was an original member of Yo La Tengo, and he's played with the Replacements, Richard Buckner, Chris Stamey and Peter Holsapple, among others. On that evidence, Dave Schramm should be at least a well-known footnote in the annals of roots-inspired alt-rock. Add to that the strength of his songwriting, the appealingly unadorned twang of his singing and his deft, but spare attention and there's no good reason why Schramm shouldn't be a roots-inspired alt-rock hero. He does seem to have a gift for not drawing attention to himself, and part of his trouble could be that his twang sounds a little too honest, a little too much like he's not trying not to sound like Randy Travis - fatally uncool to the No Depression nation. But Schramm has never courted any particular obvious influence, least of all one that would get into a particular genre only for the length of its shelf life of coolness. He's much too straightforward for that, and in that way, the Schramms closely resemble the recent world of ex-Blaster Dave Alvin - straightforward narratives and character studies that smack of truthfulness, garbed in music that complements without sugar-coating. As ever, on 100 Questions, the Schramms play elemental music that's a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll, but mostly, in its own way, this is pure soul. (Innerstate)