Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Honest Soul Train Takes the Hog For a Ride: Colin Robinson

To write a song, ever since I was young
Required some tragedy
I'd shape and hone, from the blood, from the bone
Some sense of sanity
And awed, should a good wind prevail
I'd close my mouth and open my sails
But when a storm would roll in I would pick up my pen
And I'd wail ... and tell another lonely tale

-- Honest Soul

Utah's soul man Colin Robinson drove Honest Soul through the Hog Wallow Pub in Cottonwood Heights on Saturday. Powered by an engine of Robinson's baritone vocals, keyboard, and fiery red guitar, Brian Thurber on guitar, Darren Farnsworth on drums, and Steve Bauman on guitar, the band kept the soul train rolling til closing time.

After a long week of travel, derailed connections (is that term applicable for airline travel?), jet lag, and a cold, I hit the Hog scene in I-just-wanna-chill mode. No song notes or lyrics scribbled on paper towels, no set list.  The methodology for this review was easy listening. After each song had gone about eight or so bars, I said to myself or my friends, "I like it! I really like it!" repeatedly.  My dancing friends would've torn apart the tiny Hog dance floor on quite a few numbers.

Colin Robison dressed in Willie Nelson fashion, complete with head scarf.  The other band members were less descript, which is not to imply they were non-descript.  More important was their execution.  Honest Soul played blues the way I like to hear it: with heartfelt, "sorry tale" lyrics, coupled with a steady rock n' roll back beat.  The few slow and traditional sad bluesy songs incited me to whisper to my friend, "This is cigarette smoking music." I don't smoke except to the extent I'm smoking the vile winter air of Salt Lake City each passing minute, but the music enveloped me with that sort of "lounge lizard" feeling.  No, I wasn't the one with the black lace tights, in case you were there. I know my limits.

The group's music is self-described as "Heart-movin', butt-shakin', love-makin' good times." And nearly everybody at the Hog got into the act, eventually, including a giant of a gentleman, who Leroy Brown might dub "Treetop Lover."  "Treetop" kept boogeying in front of me to the point where I could not record the band on video. He seemed intent on luring in one of the women dancing in a group at the side of the stage.  Nearly as tall as the ceiling of the Hog, his monstrous attempts at shaking it were, well, a Kodak moment that I can't share.

The caboose of the Honest Soul train was Dave Terran on trumpet. This is a guy who bypasses the cover charge line as he confidently totes his trumpet case, meets and greets the band during their break, and is on stage with the group doing improv to by the end of the evening. Terran's act surpassed seven astounding minutes, and, afterwards, we stood there and listened to equal kudos from members of the crowd along with a big thumbs up from members of Honest Soul after his rendition of "Groovin' On a Sunday Afternoon."  The crowd was energized and begging for more at 1 am.  Only in the interest of kindly allowing the staff to go home did Robinson refuse to play yet another encore.

If you are convinced you want to shake it with Honest Soul, here is a link to their upcoming gigs, including the next one in Park City at the Spur.

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