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One Star Hotel - Good Morning, West Gordon 
By Eric Bodrero

I’ll be frank here: “Good Morning, West Gordon” sounds familiar. It gives you that sense of déjà vu, like what you’re listening too you’ve heard a hundred times before, but you can’t really name the band, or where the music came from. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing is your call. But that’s where the familiarity ends. Taking the finest points of Wilco’s sound, intermingled with their own lyrics, stripping it down to it’s bare-roots rawness, getting rid of the white noise and annoying fuzz-pop, and making it honest and pure, One Star Hotel’s second attempt at music-making results in a fine effort, and one that indie/americana fans shouldn’t even think about missing.

“Good Morning, West Gordon” is a first-rate sophomore effort from these alt-country rockers in which front man and singer/songwriter Steve Yutzy-Burkey belts out magical, heartstring-pulling melodies that wrap around that soft spot in your stomach and leaves a lump in your throat the size of a grapefruit. Hailing from Philadelphia, these four indie ballad-makers have a way of knowing and singing exactly what you need to hear by walking up to your heart’s window, cupping their hands to their faces, and peering in until they solve your life’s troubles via a six-string. 

Every track is bursting with an abundance of acoustic guitar, wistful lyrical melancholy, and a heavy dose of sulking, moody languish that will have you listening to certain tracks over and over and over again. Actually, the whole disk will probably require an immediate replay, as you’ll be captivated with the first run through and undoubtedly for an infinite amount of replays after that. 

But One Star Hotel doesn’t just stop at acoustical sing-a-longs. They know how to rock as solid as any band today. In fact, they take an approach with West Gordon that is noticeably louder and more aggressive than their debut. However, this new musical angle in no way stagnates their style, but affixes a sense of credibility to their musical résumé that is already impressive as is. This is pure musical brilliance that all fans of alt-country, Americana and even pure country should appreciate, and more importantly, love.

That’s not to say that the record is flawless. If there is a weakness here, it’s the lack of innovation. I know I heard this same record several years ago. Some of the tracks on West Gordon sound not only like other bands, but they start imitating themselves after awhile. Not entirely a bad thing since the tracks are so excellent, but it may make some listeners turn the other ear, especially Wilco fans who have been there, done that. 

However, at the end of it all, “Good Morning, West Gordon” has the heart the size of the city they’re from, and even more talent than that. This is an impressive second album, and one that fans can really hunker down with, sip their favorite beverage with, and get pure, unadulterated whisperings of heartfelt semblance that you just can’t get from those thirty other bands they sound like. Philadelphia should be proud.

CD Info 

One Star Hotel - Good Morning, West Gordon
1. Frustrated and Free
2. Can't Be Trusted
3. Starlight
4. Kings
5. Falling Down
6. Two and Four
7. Same Town
8. River Drive
9. This Fall
10. Thunderhead
11. Good Morning, West Gordon
12. In the Spring
Listen to samples and Purchase this CD online

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