Musicians have modeled themselves after John Lennon for approximately 45 years now, which means newcomers The Rosewood Thieves are entering some seriously congested territory. From the Decker House, the band's debut EP, is a pitch-perfect homage to that musical legend, with frontman Erik Jordan navigating his way around Hammond organs, jangling guitars, and Beatles-esque songwriting. But while other Lennon disciples are content to simply mimic their influences, Jordan also injects these six songs with a down-home blend of folk and country flavor. “Back Home to Harlem” includes a Spanish-styled tango of acoustic guitars and castanet percussion, while standout track “Lonesome Road” switches between quiet, cooing verses and romping honky tonk. The band has already penned its ode to California, too, and the resulting “Los Angeles” opens the EP with all the dreamy, smogged-out beauty of the City of Angels.
This is the sound of a mythical jam session between Bob Dylan, The Band, and post-1970 John Lennon. That’s an awfully heavy burden for a young band to bear, but the Rosewood Thieves sound like they’re really for the challenge. Until their full-length debut is completed, the rest of us will just have to settle with Decker House, which is a mighty fine home for the time being. - Andrew Leahey