©2005 Curlock and Jalaiso Music, BMI

cartwheeling

maybe it’s coincidence
my boy fell down the stairs
the same day they dropped our jobs
to boost the market shares
lucky nothing’s broken
just a hell of a scare
we’re cartwheeling down through the atmosphere
spinning through the air

check my last known whereabouts
and all my alibis
search my empty mailbox
for a blessing in disguise
cordon off all the exits
question every last man
couldn’t say which way I’m headed
didn’t leave any clues about where I stand

they say bad news comes in triplicate
but that’s not what’s scaring me
because I know some things are accidents
and some are meant to be
my needle’s pushing empty
when my light turns green
I’m trying to drive the moment
but I’m getting swept down the stream

here we go again

breaking
here we go again
and I don’t know how
but I’ll think of something
breaking
you’re leaving me again
and maybe this time
I should have seen it coming

it does no good getting angry now
I can’t change your mind anyhow
climbed up so high we can’t look down
so I’m going through the motions
they’re all I’ve got right now

maybe
you know it’s over when
all you’ve got in common
is a history of frustrations
maybe
we were never going to win
even on a good day
we had our reservations

it does no good getting angry now
I can’t change your mind anyhow
climbed up so high we can’t look down
going through the motions
because they’re all I’ve got right now

breaking
here we go again
and I don’t know how
but I’ll think of something
I’ll think of something

miracle

it was like a cloudburst, like rain
all I ever wanted
was the feeling
of hearing your voice galloping
the Crooked Path
making it sound like it was easy

and the less you said
the more it meant to me
nowadays I’ve got to have
all the blanks filled in to understand

you were so good
I just can’t believe it

it hit me hard seeing you again
the present tasted like the past
it should have made me happy
not sad
there were never any promises
but I swear
all I ever wanted
was to be there

you were so good
I just can’t believe it

getaway car

cooler heads prevailing
I’m calming down
sorting out the fury
from the sound
it’s already clear
that I’ve lost this round
nothing left to do but
let the wave come crashing down

bitter words and angry
fantasies
lashing out in sparks of
uncertainty
but you give my lightning
a path to ground
filter out the bad and
send the blood cells back around

you are my escape
my getaway car
my soul and my strength
you are

worry spilling over
into my sleep
every line of thinking
in full retreat
but you won’t desert me
won’t let me drown
all I have to do is
let the wave come crashing down

now you know

so now you know
what it looks like in my soul
you’ve done the time, read the note
seen the address on the envelope

and all this time
I’ve been right beside you
like a spider in the wall
or a twenty in your pocket
that you found when you forgot it
and you don’t see how
you missed it

now you know
does the air taste different?
is the knowledge inconsistent?
or does it fit the pattern

of that first impression
that’s been discarded
like a candy wrapper
or a strain of laughter
now you know my reasons
now you know my ghosts

so are we still friends?
or did that depend on knowing
half of the story?
are you glad or sorry?
there’s a look on your face
like you want to erase
the last five minutes
back to blissful static
like a box in the attic
but there’s no sugar-coating
a truth worth knowing
a truth worth knowing

now you know

the second time around

the second time around
is not just the same again
you don’t have to concentrate so hard
on reading every sign
the landscape is familiar
but don’t let it fool you none
the trip won’t be as easy or as hard
the second time

this whole town got bolder
it rushes out to meet you now
the dealerships and strip malls
spread out for miles
but I recognize the houses
I know all the streets by name
and I know what brings me to your door
a second time

I can’t wait to see you
for the first time again
I can’t wait for my arms to learn
the shape of you
and feel you move
when you’re breathing

the first time I saw you
I knew I was lost forever
knew I was helpless
knew I was blind
knew I might as well try
holding back an ocean
as not love you
and now I’m drifting in upon your tide
a second time

au clair

time is moving with no
great purpose tonight
the kids are sleeping
the television is quiet
if you were closer I would
find any excuse
to borrow a flashlight or a
ballpoint pen from you

sunshine at night
the moon is shining down
but not with its own light
open your door
I’m freezing outside
let me back into your life

I wanted to call you
and hear our voices ride
over the time zones
and the continent’s divide
but you’re flowing to your ocean
and I’m bound to mine
and it’s too late, anyway, tonight

the sky is falling
or so it pretends
bouncing acorns off the roof
and the trash cans

I’m second-handed
last summer’s news
anecdotes and headlines
updates and reviews
with only your reflection
it’s hard to make do
but I’ll take your pictures out
and tell the kids about you

the king is dead

had a plan
wrapped around you
knew the language
and the terms that bound you
well connected
had a deal in play
led the money to the table
but it walked away

and the king is dead
you’re in the negative space
buried in the background noise
in a lower case

reads like a blowout
in the final score
cleaned your desk out
took your name down off the door
so much for teamwork
and esprit de corps
the music stopped
and every seat was spoken for

you drew yourself within that frame
but your point of reference changed

had a plan
wrapped around you
knew the language
and you knew who you were bound to
well connected
had a deal in play
but it turned out you were
ancient history
either way

in the balance

with all that hung in the balance
there was more we could have said
but one indelicate word would have
cut that last thread
as good as gone
it was not much for hope to hang on
but we let it hang in the balance
when there was
more we could have said

that’s not to say that I’m willing
to either forget or forgive
I’m just a step and half to the good side
of willing to live and let live
bury the blade
let the edge of the anger fade
but I wouldn’t say that we’re willing
to either forget or forgive

we keep to the box scores
and the seasons pass
we keep to the neutral ground
and the anger don’t flow as fast

with all that hung in the balance
there was more we could have said
God knows which wounds will heal
and which may kill us instead
so love is blind
if only for a day at a time
but here we live in the balance
when there was
more we could have said

wonderful

it’s not the end of the world
just a shouting match
a bloody nose, a dirty word
a change of clothes
it’s not the end of the world
just a lap on the wheel
an effort with nothing to show

then you find someone
who loves you more
than you could ask for
and it’s wonderful

it’s not the end of the world
just a twisted arm, a choke-hold
and a double-knot in the rope
it’s not the end of the world
just a question of waiting
and trusting in the good

until it lights your fuse
and turns you loose
to be who you choose
and it’s wonderful

there’s no pattern there to observe
just malevolence, and patience,
and chaos
all throwing you curves

so you talk to God
and trust to fate
and you learn to mend
your own mistakes
and at worst it’s more
than you can take
and at best it’s more
than wonderful

circles

she talks to the racquet
as she pinches the strings
but the translation’s getting
lost in mid-swing
her volley won’t dance
and her serve won’t sing
every little motion’s
saying more or less
than she means

she brushes off
the first gray hair of summer:
a strand of cool air
escapes out from under
the big, still heat of August
that winks and rights itself
like a candle flame disturbed

when she leaves on the train
that winds up the Hudson
she’ll try and drown another day
in its sleep
watching her reflection
float just out of reach
while the boats on the water in the evening
glow like red river dreams

let’s slide in the water
where it’s swiftest and deep
outrace answers
and catch up to mysteries
just you and me

later, at a party
with some people she’d forgotten
hearing stories told about herself
in third person
just for a minute
it’s so good to be swimming
in someone else’s circles

but the clearest pools
the wildest rings
are her eyes now
their bright blue lens
could teach you all your heart intends
put her cares in your head
and her name on your lips

come and see

I want to wring you out
like the rain from your sweater
and catch every drop
and float on the wave of your hand
until you brush me away
like the sleep from your eyes
and wake from me carelessly
by surprise

honey

Each moment retells you
letter by silent letter
and spells you a new way
until the one that you were
you’ll forget her
then you’ll brush me away
like the hair falling over your eyes
and wake from me carelessly
by surprise

honey

I want to ring you out
in a high steeple song
that calls everyone
come and see
come and see what’s begun
come and see
come and see what’s begun

 

track listing:

 

cartwheeling
here we go again
miracle
getaway car
now you know
the second time around
au clair
the king is dead
in the balance
wonderful
circles
come and see

 

Released 2005. Recorded at Vu Du Studios in Freeport by Bob Stander. Artie Riegger on drums and backing vocals, AJ Riegger on bass and backing vocals, and Jean-Paul Vest on guitar, vocals and organ. Additional percussion on Circles by Chuck Taylor. Cover art by Tom McKee.

 

 

 

Getaway Car

 

WYRR, July 2006Bands You Should Know: Last Charge of the Light Horse
We can't say enough good things about this group. In a sea of boring college/alt rock drivel, this trio really stands out. Their latest, Getaway Car, has songs that will breathe hope into even the most jaded alt rock fans. Worth a listen!

 

 

THE DAILY VAULT, Interview January 2006, Jason Warburg

 

FM, June 2, 2006, Diane E. Amov

 

Ah, the business of indie rock.

 

You put out your own CD. You tour only as far as your vintage van and limited funds will take you. Your unapologetically American, straight-ahead rock accompanies dark, literate, emotionally raw lyrics. And when some hipster newspaper critic allows that he likes you, he compares you to Cream because you're a three-piece band with an old guy. Even though it's couched in a highly favorable review, this comparison does you no favors, because your 20- and 30-something target audience would rather swear off Internet porn for a month than listen to something their parents might dig.

 

I'm hoping that New Yorkers in particular are reading this, because local trio, Last Charge of the Light Horse, deserve a fairer shake.

 

Their controlled cacophony recalls James McMurtry, Steve Earle, Uncle Tupelo, and Rank & File (at least in this track). But Last Charge of the Light Horse are much more than the sum of their parts. Every member of the band pulls his weight and then some to put down a driving, brawny sound. Father/son rhythm section, A.J. (bass) and Artie (drums) Riegger provide the stormy hand-in-glove underpinning for the panoramic guitars, story-songs, and alt-country vocals of Jean-Paul Vest, and there's not a bad track on the album.

 

And not a single one of them sounds like Cream.

 

 

NEWSDAY, February 9, 2006, Rafer Guzman

 

Last Charge Straight Ahead

 

Straight-ahead rock doesn't find its way into this column very often, and there are a couple of reasons. Most of it just rehashes the sounds of bygone decades, and it's easy to overlook when so many young bands are experimenting with more up-to-date genres such as punk and emo. That doesn't leave much room for all the singer-songwriters and traditional-minded rock groups out there.

 

But here's room for one: Last Charge of the Light Horse, a basic trio led by veteran singer-guitarist Jean-Paul Vest and rounded out by drummer Artie Riegger and bassist A.J Riegger (his son). The Coram-based band may have a highfalutin name, but it isn't trying to do anything fancy. Instead, it just creates and plays good music.

 

A warning: Last Charge's latest disc, "Getaway Car," isn't upbeat. It starts out angry, with the rolling drums and powerful bass of "Cartwheeling." Vest sings bitterly: "Maybe it's coincidence/My boy fell down the stairs/The same day they dropped our jobs to boost the market share." The mood lifts on "Here We Go Again," but the downbeat lyrics contradict the jaunty melody.

 

A few tracks in, the clouds really begin to gather. "Miracle" has an ominous drone beneath the chords; "Getaway Car" feels wind-blown and dusty. The five-minute "Au Clair" ends with a long, wordless reverie: Vest lets his guitar do the pondering while the rhythm section rustles quietly behind him.

 

Vest's somewhat fragile voice can't quite conquer every song; he has the reedy tone of a folkie, rather than a rocker.

 

But at other times (as on "Au Clair") this fragility serves him well.

 

Overall, "Getaway Car" is a rare disc that creates something original out of the traditional.

 

Copyright 2006 Newsday Inc.

 

 

THE DAILY VAULT, December 2005, Jason Warburg

 

"Maybe it's coincidence/ My boy fell down the stairs/ The same day they dropped our jobs/ To boost the market shares/ Lucky nothing's broken/ Just a hell of a scare/ We're cartwheeling down/ Through the atmosphere/ Spinning through the air"
-- "Cartwheeling"

 

So opens my favorite independent release of 2005. Yes, that's right, just four weeks after I called Danelia Cotton's absolutely terrific Small White Town "the indie album of the year," I'm calling a do-over. Getaway Car is simply too good to be denied.

 

Last Charge Of The Light Horse conquers its unwieldy name with this brilliant, passionate roots-rock tour de force. You may remember Last Charge's guitarist/singer/songwriter Jean-Paul Vest from his previous incarnation as Blue Sandcastle; this time out he's backed by father-son duo A.J. Riegger and Artie Riegger on bass, drums and background vocals.

 

The above-quoted "Cartwheeling" opens the album with a drum pattern that rumbles like thunder as stormclouds surround the narrator, with guitar, bass and background vocals barreling in right after to send this track into the emotional stratosphere. By the time the narrator goes out to "search my empty mailbox / for a blessing in disguise," the arrow has flown straight from Bruce Springsteen's seminal Darkness On The Edge Of Town to this disc (a comparison I don't make lightly).

 

A little later, in "Miracle," the weather takes a turn for the better as love appears, in spectacular fashion: "It was like a cloudburst, like rain / all I ever wanted? and the less you said, the more it meant to me." Late in the song, the bass drops out, leaving Vest singing "You were so good / I just can't believe it" like an exaltation, with the drums rat-tat-tatting scattato underneath and the Rieggers' chorused background vocals rising over the top, nailing that magic nexus between love song and devotional hymn.

 

Next up is the title track, a truly remarkable entry in the time-honored genre of love as a troubled soul's redemption. "You give my lightning / a path to ground," goes the verse, leading into a keening chorus that Vest sings, in his reedy but deceptively strong voice, with utter conviction: "You are my escape / My getaway car / My soul and my strength / You are." Screw the Grammies -- if there was any justice, this would compete for song of the year.

 

This album never lets up; if anything, the songs grow deeper and stronger as you move into its second act. "Au Clair" is a gentle plea with alt-county overtones; "The King Is Dead" follows with perfect contrast, a big, beefy blast of dark-edged rock and roll, as well as a thematic twin to "Cartwheeling" ("Cleaned your desk out / took your name down off the door? the music stopped / And every seat was spoken for"). "In the Balance" is an electric, propulsive rocker about reaching a critical point in a tense relationship: "I'm just a step and a half / to the good side / of willing to live and let live."

 

Getaway Car finishes with a trio of gems. "Wonderful" (not the Everclear song) is a ballad of slumbering power, full of hard-won wisdom that rises and falls like the tide. "Circles" is a thrumming meditation, a character sketch with the depth and texture of good fiction, full of rich lines like "a strand of cool air / escapes out from under / the big, still heat of August / that winks and rights itself / like a candle flame disturbed." Putting a gorgeous, epic finish on the proceedings is "Come And See," in which the laid-back confidence of Vest's vocals meshes with his plain-spoken poetry to create an unpretentious majesty.

 

If Springsteen was less self-conscious, if Dylan was more grounded, if Mellencamp was more of a poet, or Hiatt less of a joker, one of them might have written an album like this one, a set of beautifully crafted songs about love and work and passion and loss that grows richer and more resonant with every listen. There's a word for this sort of thing: masterpiece.

 

RATING: A

 

 

COUNTERPUNCH.ORG, December 2005, Jeffrey St. Clair

 

Last Charge of the Light Horse -- Getaway Car
Energetic and subversive rock with literate lyrics reporting from the ruins of the Bush economy by a new Long Island band with Texas roots.
If the Labor Movement in this country had a lick of sense, it would make a video of "Cartwheeling" and splash it before the nation during halftime of the Super Bowl, before people nod off during the Stones' geriatric set. Last Charge is propelled by a rumbling father-and-son rhythm section and the speed-demon lead guitar of Jean-Paul Vest, which just might remind you of the late Freddie King.

 

 

GOOD TIMES, February 2006, Syl Nathan

 

Hey, Mr. A&R man, striving to find the next Carrie Underwood or Bo Bice or whatever–there are artists out there with something to say and an original way to express it. Last Charge of the Light Horse certainly qualify.

 

This area three-piece – their next scheduled show is at The Hairy Lemon in Selden on Friday, February 10 – consists of vocalist and guitarist Jean-Paul Vest, bassist A.J. Riegger and drummer Artie Riegger. This beautifully packaged, 12-track introduction to these musicians is about as well thought-out a local album that has been offered for review here in many a month.

 

There are so many introspective, tightly-performed songs here that it is hard not to want to lay down the plaudits a bit too thickly. But any album with the lover's plea "Now You Know," the Bob Dylan-ish "The Second Time Around," or the opener "Cartwheeling" is tempting to want to praise to the high heavens.

 

The overall sound here is what some are calling "emo," but the influences here are veiled so well that the overall sound is completely original and riveting. Once again, the team at Vu Du Studios has produced a debut that sounds wholly major league; kudos to Bob Stander, who helmed the project in every facet
of the recording.

 

Last Charge of the Light Horse has done the near impossible here; coming out of nowhere, this act and this record are ready to go national. Chalk up another big score for Long Island's burgeoning rock scene.