Brooklyn singer-songwriter Bill Bartholomew and his new band Governours, formed in late 2008 with drummer Tito Ladd and bassist John Phipps, will be rolling through Austin for a couple of dates this weekend. As evidenced by his 2008 solo EP World On A Wire, Bartholomew’s mostly acoustic-fueled folk pop is driven by strong songwriting, wordy lyrical constructs, and an ear for hooks.
On the album-opening title track, the listener is greeted with thumping drums, high hat taps, simple piano stabs, and acoustic strums, followed by Bartholomew’s pleasant vocals. It’s a deceptively simple sounding pop tune, but Bartholomew adds in a few well-placed vocal quirks and some unusual arrangement switch ups that help the song build in emotion and power without ever losing it’s defining sweetness. He repeats many of these tricks with even greater success on standout track “Bright Eyed, Blurry, and Blue.” The song is propelled by its bouncy rhythm and powerhouse chorus. Mid-album track “Arsenal” finds Bartholomew in a Dylan-esque mood, accompanied only by his acoustic guitar. The song is reminiscent of some of the leading indie folk troubadours of today, bringing to mind acts like Elvis Perkins and The Tallest Man On Earth. “There Are No More Numbers” and closer “American Anthem” (presumably not named for the awful 1986 Mitch Gaylord film) show Bartholomew’s rock ‘n’ roll side, the latter even ending with some blistering electric guitar work. Overall, the short EP is a breezy walk through some seriously infectious pop, and by the close of the record, I found myself not wanting it to be over.
From what I’ve heard, Governours seem to embrace both Bartholomew’s softer acoustic side and the harder rock edge heard on a few of the EP tracks. Governours will be playing at two different locations this weekend, so stop by and give them a listen if you’re looking for some good music to compliment what will hopefully be a beautiful and cool Austin springtime weekend. Locations and times listed below.
Clementine Coffee Bar
2200 Manor Road
Austin, TX 78722
1401 W. Koenig Lane
Austin, TX 78756