Massy Ferguson is a bar band in the best sense -- not a band relegated to bars because it will never rise higher, but a band that plays music perfectly suited to dark, crowded rooms in which there's at least a possibility of a beer glass smashing against a wall.
The songs, filled with barflies, broken hearts and doomed late-night romance, would sound pretty good anywhere, though. Singer-bassist Ethan Anderson says the sound is Americana that leans more toward rock than country, and that's a pretty good description. Think Drive-By Truckers or some combination of Son Volt and The Hold Steady. Think Springsteen's "Greetings From Asbury Park" or "Nebraska." Those are all influences, as is 1970s Southern rock and good-time classic rock bands like Thin Lizzy.
If that means Massy Ferguson is derivative, well, that's partly true. It doesn't really matter, though, because the songs, if not particularly groundbreaking, are just plain good. And the lyrics are full of enough detail and imagery that you start to forget any objections. Take, for instance, this bit from "Powder Blue," on the 2008 album "Cold Equations":
6922 Preston Fall City Rd
Issaquah, WA 98027
|Minimum Age: 21|
|Kid Friendly: No|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|