Five Mile Chase,
Your Town
(self-produced, 2005)

Your Town is the second CD released by the duo Five Mile Chase. Their musical style is mostly Irish, even though they are based out of St. Paul, Minn. The CD contains 16 tracks, many of which are traditional Irish jigs and reels. There are also some decidedly non-Irish sounds as well. That is something to note if you are a purist and don't care for variety in your music.

A great example of the reels these boys can play is "The Widow's Daughter/Humours of Scarriff/The Whistler of Rossleigh." The music sounds familiar, but I can't honestly say I've heard it before. These lively tunes are led by some excellent fiddle and flute playing. While you can tell where one reel ends and the next begins, the transitions are pretty seamless.

My favorite selection of this CD is easily "Blame the Dog/Nine to Eleven," an Irish polka track that quickly hooks you. When you listen to this tune, close your eyes and imagine a bunch of gypsies doing an Irish jig. The fiddle leads this fast-paced, and too short, piece.

The fiddle player of the duo is Django Amerson. At times, he also contributes with the bouzouki and backing vocals. Brian Miller plays guitar as his main instrument. He adds flute, accordion and whistle on occasion. Unfortunately, he also sings from time to time. While his singing talent isn't necessarily bad, let's just say that he wouldn't make it far on American Idol. On half a dozen tracks, Five Mile Chase is backed up on drums and percussion by Owen Weaver.

One of the non-Irish tunes is the song "Time," which is quite a bit different from the Tom Waits version. The liner notes state that Django wanted to do this cover and admits that it is bad. I have to agree with that assessment! At the same time I find it an amusing rendition. For some reason I imagine a jam session after a few too many pints of Guinness.

I wasn't initially impressed with Your Town, but over time the CD has grown on me. The best tracks are definitely the instrumentals. I quite enjoy how Django's fiddle and Brian's guitar complement each other. My favorite instrument is the violin/fiddle, so I'm a little partial to Django's talent on that instrument. The flute playing is superb as well. If there is a weak point on the CD, it would be that the vocal tracks are not polished. However, they would sound fine in a pub setting, I'm sure. You can check out a few samples at the band's website. The instrumentals are worth a listen. You'll never know these boys aren't from Ireland.

by Wil Owen
1 April 2006

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