The Weight - Ten Mile Grace (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Weight

Ten Mile Grace (2004)


As a band of punk-minded folk jamming out heartfelt, irony-free indie-country with a heavy Replacements influence, The Weight's Ten Mile Grace covers much the same ground as Lucero did on their latest record That Much Further West. However based solely on Joseph Plunket's incredible vocal performance and sincere, literate songwriting this record may well eclipse it's already well received peer. One wonders if Plunket named his group after The Band's `68 single, as this is definitely in the tradition of crossover rock music with strong Southern roots. Given time to dissipate through the scene this record (and this band if they remain at their current profile) have all the hallmarks of becoming cult classics.

There's a baritone quality to Plunket's vocals that puts them somewhere between Mike Ness and Folsom Prison era Cash. He also has a distinctive warble at times, but more in line with Neil Young than the overbearing honkey tonk style that county music is oft stereotyped with. While the number of players on this record is quite high (8 by my count, not considering the dozens of past members listed in the liner notes), songs like the title track are satisfyingly sparse with the accompaniment never overpowering Plunket's words. Both "Ships" and "Hate Myself" features the vocals of Amy Dykes of I Am The World Trade Center. Roots music is a far cry from the synth-pop of her day job but the collaborations are remarkably successful nonetheless. The band's punk roots emerge in songs like "Dragged Back In" and "St. Paul", as the volume increases and more traditional rock structures are employed. The more aggressive guitars and percussion are reflected in Plunket's vocal delivery, which when necessary takes on a Leatherface rasp not unlike that which typifies the No Idea sound (Gunmoll, Hot Water Music et al).

Ten Mile Grace is just an incredible listen: Soulful throughout with distinct, accomplished vocals and a wonderful sense of space in the recording. This is the type of record you listen to in solitude to really soak in every harmonica flourish, every bit of fret board noise, every time the pedal steel makes a welcome appearance. There's no reason why you shouldn't check this out, as passionate roots-conscious rock music should be on your plate regardless of whatever trend your currently chasing.