I met a shorter-haired James Sasser (second from the right) at a friend’s party in Portland a few years back. After imbibing a bit, a group of us went to a small rock-a-billy bar and watched him play. I picked up a copy of his album, Southside of Sorrow, that evening. It was an excellent mix of folk and country. Now Sasser fronts a new group – one not named after him. That group is Lostine.
Country music has never been my thing and for years I shunned anything labeled as country music. But, after listening to artists like Magnolia Electric Company and Songs: Ohia (both fronted by Jason Molina), I realized that what I dislike is mainstream country – you know, those songs about losing the girl and the dog died and anything about a truck. But you don’t hear that in a lot of this music. While Molina’s groups and Sasser’s old one are heavily folk-based, Lostine takes the folk and the country and adds in some well-known Credence Clearwater Revival style classic rock.
These influences are readily apparent with one listen to “Your Side Of The Story.” Here the harmony vocals have a heavy dose of reverb. The country-folk twang returns in the slower-paced ballad, “Chinatown”. While closer to Sasser’s old band, it is still possible to hear remnants of CCR behind Sasser’s southern-style vocals. One change between James Sasser (the group) and Lostine is the use of harmony vocals. Rounding out the group are Greg Sasser (who I assume is James’ brother) on drums, Phoebe Osborne on bass guitar and Jeff Wood on supporting guitars.
This review was originally posted June 18, 2006 on the old version of FensePost. Sasser has since reinstated the self-titled moniker.