Bean Pickers Union – Potlatch

by Woody on April 16, 2008

Bean Pickers Union

It took me about 10 seconds of the first track, “Photograph,” to get the feeling of Potlatch. Those first few piano notes set the tone for a stunning debut from Bean Pickers Union. “Photograph” examines a town torn apart by a flood and they lyrics combined with the music makes the town come alive. The music absorbs you and places you at the scene that singer/songwriter, Chuck Melchin, paints for you.

Melchin is without a doubt a wonderfully talented songwriter, as the 10 song Potlatch examines pain and struggle in a number of settings. But in addition to being a songwriter, Melchin is fantastic storyteller. My buddy Moish once commented to me that Patterson Hood wasn’t the best songwriter, but was a spectacular storyteller. Melchin, in my opinion, wins in both categories.

The third track, “Reaper,” tells the story of a man murdering his lifetime friend, Travis. Travis comes to an untimely end as the man finds him attacking his wife. It’s just Melchin and his guitar crafting the tune, but it makes me feel like a fly on the wall as the character fells Travis with his sickle.

This is a brilliant album that will appeal to fans of Neil Young, The Jayhawks, Uncle Tupelo and their many descendants. I don’t know how Bean Pickers Union will manage to put out a better effort in the future, but I’ll be listening.

MySpace | Website | Buy Bean Pickers Union – Potlatch

Bean Pickers Union – Photograph

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

oz April 16, 2008 at 4:22 pm

BPU is a definite crowd pleaser for the country crowd. I understand what you’re saying about the storytelling too. Jenny Anne sounds like a song that could have been written by Townes Van Zandt

M August 27, 2008 at 10:25 am

Your post above is incorrect. In the song “Reaper” the guy DOES NOT kill his friend Travis! He kills his own wife. Chuck sets the stage for what’s about to happen right in the begining of the song when he says “Swore that friendship to the grave/Never knew how much truth was in that contract/That would be my hand that brought us to that day”. That’s a major difference in the story, and yes, Chuck is an awesome storyteller.

Woody August 27, 2008 at 6:51 pm

I think you are incorrect. His hand did bring him do that day because he killed Travis. If you listen at about to 2:35 point, after he swung his sickel, “And I dragged him to that swamp up by the highway …” Him being Travis. Either way, it’s a great tune and Chuck is tremendous talent.

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