- Artist: The Central Standards
- Format: CD
- Release Date:12/9/2003
'...REFRAIN is a stunner, from the opening chords of 'Secrets To Sing' until the last notes of 'No Man Alive' die away.' -Michael Mee, Americana UK '...a solid debut disc...a collection of 14 smart, catchy original songs...' -Chris Herrington, Memphis Flyer '...earnest, upbeat collection of original folk-rockers...an extremely immediate, live sound that allows the disc's 14 songs room to breathe and to stand on their own considerable merits...very cool stuff.' -Jim Musser, Iowa City Press-Citizen, NO DEPRESSION ''What Makes You Think' is one of the best songs to be heard in 2004...' 'Special, clever, genuine; enough said.' -Sahar Oz, Delusions of Adequacy '...the songs are incredible. Capps and Horrell have a knack for this stuff, the songwriting is flawless and their harmonies blend with ease. It's a somewhat polished sound, but not overly slick---just rough enough around the edges to keep it firmly grounded. This one's a keeper.' -Mish Mash Indie Music Reviews '...a wonderfully gentle country-rock record, breezy and smooth and quite mellow. Think Byrds, think Rhett Miller, think Glen Campbell, think Central Standards!' -Joseph Kyle, Mundane Sounds '...REFRAIN offers 14 sparkling songs that will make you sing along...an excellent record...' -Hugo Vogel, Alt-Country NL (Netherlands) *************** At the time of their first show together early in 2001, The Central Standards' founding members and songwriters Jeff Capps and Ted Horrell had no intention of forming a band. After stints with Missouri groups 10shy (One of These Years) and Resident Clark (Horseshoes and Handgrenades), Capps and Horrell both had embarked on careers as high school teachers. The two singer/songwriter friends, who taught in classrooms next door to each other, booked the show simply as an opportunity to perform--a chance for each to work out some new songs and strum along together on a few from each artist's existing catalogues. What happened from that point, however, was a result of the two artists' mutual respect for each other's songwriting and a shared drive to continue creating compelling, lyric-driven music. The Central Standards, as they came to be known, started as a duo, featuring Capps and Horrell both playing acoustic guitar and sharing vocal duties in a way that many said was reminiscent of early acoustic rockers like the Everly Brothers. While the two reworked many of the songs they had written with their respective bands, Capps and Horrell focused on crafting new original tunes that complemented their two-guitar, two-voice style. Both appreciated this kind of classic, stripped-down approach and the fact that they were hearing little of it on the music scene at the time. Beginning in 2001 and continuing through 2002, The Central Standards played dozens of shows in and around their hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. They became known primarily for their inspired delivery of sharp roots/pop original tunes and also unique acoustic arrangements of songs by artists ranging from the Kinks to Bruce Springsteen to Stephen Malkmus. That era is documented on a double live CD produced in May 2002 by one of Capps and Horrell's students, Mikhail Mazor. By the end of 2002, having established their joint performance style and built up a catalogue of new original songs, the duo was ready to expand it's vision. On a trip to New Orleans in February 2003, Capps and Horrell committed to the idea of filling out the band's sound, while still attempting to maintain the dual singer/songwriter approach for which they had come to be recognized. Shortly thereafter, The Central Standards began rehearsing with drummer Marty Christopher and bassist Casey Smith. The 4-piece incarnation of The Central Standards played it's first show on May 24. In the course of preparing songs for the band's debut studio record during the summer, The Central Standards 4-piece played a couple of more shows, while Capps and Horrell made an appearance on WREG-TV, Memphis' CBS affiliate station. On August 9, The Central Standards went to work at Memphis Soundworks with producer Posey Hedges. The result of those sessions was released as the 14-song Refrain CD on December 2, 2003. Commercial Appeal (Memphis) music writer Bill Ellis likened the Standards' sound on Refrain to a 'twangier R.E.M.' while Memphis Flyer music critic Chris Herrington called the album 'a solid debut disc...a collection of 14 smart, catchy original songs on the folk side of the alt-country vein, music reminiscent of artists such as the Jayhawks and Freedy Johnston.' With Capps and Horrell each handling 50 percent of the songwriting duties, Refrain is a musically and lyrically diverse, richly textured record that still stays true to the duo's original focus on strong harmonies and meaningful lyrical themes. With a far-reaching folk-rock/Americana sound, some of Refrain offers shades of the harmony-rich, rootsy pop music of 1960s bands like The Byrds and Buffalo Springfield. The more contemplative, acoustic numbers bring to mind songs from the Louris/Olson-era Jayhawks catalogue. Still other moments have the intensity of the more driving folk-rock sounds of late-era Replacements and contemporary rockers like the Old 97's and the Wallflowers. Capps and Horrell cover vast lyrical ground, as well, ranging from a story of coming to terms with 6 years of unrequited love ('Stay thoughtful / Stay caring / And stay away from me') to a song in which the narrator struggles to find peace within himself in an off-kilter world ('Found a reason to be the one / Awake to see the setting sun'). Four songs are inspired by one of Capps and Horrell's shared favorite films, David and Lisa (1962), while two others bear the same name Broken Radio--the result of a quasi-accidental songwriting exercise. For more information about The Central Standards, contact the band at firstname.lastname@example.org.