Having never heard Carrie Nation and the Speakeasy before, I started with the first song I could find, one called "I Saw Your Daughter." I was worried. Not that I haven't enjoyed a song or two with the lock-up-your-daughter theme ("TNT" by AC/DC, for instance) but in reality it seems like we need a new trope for women that doesn't involving them being the object of lecherous characters. But, as it turns out, the Wichita, Kan., punk and brass 'n' grass band isn't that indecent. "I Saw Your Daughter" is a galloping, banjo- and up-right bass filled song involving the shaming of a deadbeat dad. "I saw your daughter, a few weeks ago," snarls guitarist and lead singer Jarrod Starling. "She's grown up so fast, but that's right, I guess you wouldn't know."
Soundwise, the band switches between gravelly, minor-key anthems that evoke Drag the River, and full-blown Dixieland ditties with horns that sound a bit like Larry and His Flask and Split Lip Rayfield. It all seems authentic. Style-wise, the multitude of string and brass instruments give it that teetering, high-wire feeling that it could fall apart at any minute. The lyrics also have a genuine delivery. When Starling isn't mercilessly yelling at jerks who deserve it, he's growling gleefully about drinking, living and loving. You can't really go wrong with that.
Carrie Nation and the Speakeasy plays Monk's Bar Fri., July 19, at 9 PM, with Frederick Krueger & the Sweet Dreamers and Aran Buzzas. Free.