Rob Cee’s Regional Bias- December 2007: Dealer In Wares

Featured — By on December 7, 2007 at 3:45 pm

The most exciting thing to come out of Olyphant, PA since the road to Throop may be local blues/rock duo Dealer In Wares. The group is made up of Tim Beckage on guitar and Sarah Yzkanin on harmonica and vocals. They look like they would get carded buying smokes but they play the blues with more grit and feeling than 90% of the supposed blues cats out there today. Yzkanin’s voice sounds like it may have been lifted from her parents’ liquor cabinet and Beckage is equally effective on electric or acoustic guitar. The group has put together an album called Black Arrow which is available for download via their MySpace page and are gigging around frequently. They also claim to have added a drummer since they recorded the album. He may, however, be a yeti- as I have seen no reliable photographic evidence of his existence… yet.

“Lonely Train” opens Black Arrow and serves as a template for the rest of the record- Beckage’s dirty guitar keeping the time while Yzkanin wails on harmonica and vocals. Across ten originals (and an unfortunately bone-dry production), Dealer In Wares deals one musical vision- the blues as played by two young people with old souls. The influences seem obvious and not-so-obvious all at the same time: The White Stripes, Robert Johnson, Led Zeppelin II and III. The subject matter of the lyrics is familiar to those familiar with the blues (e.g. trains, roads, lust, lost love, ominous figures coming into town). The album closer, “Ride On”, is not an AC/DC cover like the title might suggest, yet still manages to evoke the spirit of Angus, Malcolm, and friends with the mantra-like lyric “rock and roll will always be there.” It seems like there is strange voodoo at work here… leaving one to wonder: Did Dealer In Wares have to sell their souls on the Olyphant By-Pass to play so well at such a young age? It just wouldn’t be the blues if we knew for sure.

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