Yesterday’s weather wasn’t exactly peachy – temps in the low 60s with a mix of drizzle, thunderstorms and the occasional sunny break. If I’d been feeling a bit more hardcore, I probably would have ventured outside for my lunchtime run … but with a scratchy throat and a 1PM meeting looming, the other sparkies and I opted for an inside day. We hit the ellipticals and treadmills at the workout room, and watched the other lunchtime runners come and go.
Aside from the obvious provision of shelter and climate-control, the only real benefit to working out indoors is that we get to rock some tunes on the little mini-boom-box one of the freeze engineers donated. Yesterday, it happened to be tuned to 107.7 “The Lake”, a station out of Buffalo that – evidently by virtue of the crappy weather and resultant tropospheric ducting – was coming in surprisingly well.
As my 30 minutes on the elliptical drew to a close, a catchy song came on. I struggled to catch the words over the din of whirring exercise equipment, and only caught one snippet of the chorus: I don’t think that what you’re lookin’ for, can be found, in the places that you’re lookin’ for to… And I lost the signal. It sounded like some variation on the Goo Goo Dolls – but no one could place it. I managed to hold onto the tune through showering up and heading upstairs, and I jotted it down for later investigation.
This morning, a quick Google search showed me just whose music graced us during yesterday’s workout. As it turns out, the song was called “Dream Out Loud”, and it was written and performed by The Highway Beautiful. The duo looks to be Buffalo-based purveyors of “intelligent pop”, anchored by Jason Jurewicz’s acoustic guitar a vocals and augmented by drums and electronic accompaniment.
With iPod earbuds dutifully connected to my laptop, I’ve tiptoed my way through about half of their debut album, The Things that Lights Can Hide. I bought it for $12.95 over at CD Baby (another phenomenal online music store that doesn’t shackle their customers with DRM) and I have to say – it’s really phenomenal! The lyrics are smart (surely owing to the duo’s self-termed “intelligent pop” genre) and clean, the guitar work squarely appeals to the acoustic-lover in me (who still pines for John Mayer’s solo days) and the production quality is surprisingly pro-grade.
Why do I say surprisingly? Because The Highway Beautiful actually self-produced this first full-length album, and they did a really awesome job of it. Their website doesn’t provide too many details on where or when they recorded it, but whomever was at the controls did a damn nice job. The quality of the recording – and of the MP3 files downloaded from CDBaby – are both worth every penny of the purchase price. If you’re cheap, you can pick up the album for $8.99 at TradeBit, or you can grab it for $4.99 at Textango. But my guess is your money is best spent by buying at CD Baby, since 91% of the selling price goes directly to the band. Considering they’re currently touring in a 1998 Ford Windstar minivan, I imagine every little bit helps!
So, for this inaugural edition of Saturday Morning Tuneage – which I hope (but do not expect) will become a weekly feature here at daverea.com – The Things that Lights Can Hide by The Highway Beautiful gets a big thumbs-up. Maybe I’ll come up with a more novel rating system eventually, but for now let’s make it clear and simple: go buy this album!