the kingdom of leisure - this is the new america

The Kingdom of Leisure

by Grant Moser

January 1998


"You hold in your hands the next big real thing." So starts the promo for The Kingdom of Leisure's CD, "This Is The New America."

And maybe it is. An eclectic and fully planned CD (down to the last note according to the promo), "This Is The New America" explores familiar territory with a 90's rock sound. Self described as "trip-grass", The Kingdom of Leisure (Ty Hardaway and Rich Walkling) has discovered a new sound that won't disappoint. With a definite countrified-folksy feel, TKOL retains an indie feel. This is the first of a promised trilogy of CDs redefining American music. I can't wait to hear the next two.

"Blessedly Sin" is like a campfire sing along, but with a good beat. This part of America is about finding a guiding force, a plan in your life, what is important to you. "There is no hand guiding this rein/There is no purpose for pleasure or pain/Then how did I get here to rest next to her/And who do I thank every time that she stirs" is so friendly to the ears; the sweeping build, how it sounds like his heart is going to burst, that you will find yourself hitting repeat on this track again and again.

A quick change to the next song, a slow-coal-mining-with-a-basset -hound-by-your-feet-on-the-front-porch-number, "Talking 'Bout Oysters," and you are in another part of America. This part is about the absurdity of life and what matters from day to day. A nice banjo jamboree hoe-down at the end picks up the pace. An enjoyably odd song, it manages to use the words Rockefeller, diarrhea, unions, lice and Chaing Kai-Shek in the lyrics.

"Dharmabub" has an epic feel about it. Maybe it is the strumming guitar, the harmonica wailing, the static chords that progress into a soul-grabbing rhythm, or the Lynrd Skynrd/Werewolf in London feel that begs of an intrinsic piece of American music. "Am I the road to your Kerouac/Are you the parasite to my asthma attack/Shenandoahs to your Himalayas/You know I don't get around too many places," starts off the song and concerns the part of American where you find your stride and go your own into life.

Though the production quality of the sound is a tad low at times, you become accustomed to it, and actually appreciate it. Maybe TKOL was after that, a raw sound that grabs your attention, that is real. Like America.