Seattle's Massy Ferguson is a perfectly shameless perpetration of Americana's genre-blending panoply of staid musical tropes and prosaic vocals that confuse a miasma of melancholy for emotional ascendancy. It's about time we officially add "Americana" to the pantheon of Stuff White People Like.
Dude, I get why you people like this sort of thing. Hard Water is an encyclopedia of peaceful, inoffensive pop sensibility. Kicking off "Long Time No See" with a lightly distorted guitar riff that is as much Miranda Lambert as it is Brooks and Dunn is smart and, darn it, catchy. Americana insists upon reminding us that its vague steel guitars and country-lite twang is a representation of simpler times, simpler folk. It makes sense that the ballad of wayward militia secessionists, "Freedom County," is reminiscent of Springsteen, Petty, Mellencamp and Zevon (the master and person most responsible for this musical flavor). However, MF makes a go at differentiating itself with an outro flute solo. I suppose.
Back to the steel guitar. It works. It is the voice of sadness. "Aspartame" revels in that voice and rocks solid background vocals which, along with drippy guitar, wallow in Allman Brothers'-esque goodness à la "Melissa." That said, Hard Water is tough to swallow.
Massy Ferguson plays the University Center atrium Friday, March 25, at noon. Free.