From Driveways’ Lost View is the second full-length from St. Louis’ Magnolia Summer. In contrast to the hushed, intimate quality of the band’s 2003 debut, Levers and Pulleys, Driveways reveals a louder, rawer, and more spontaneous side of Magnolia Summer, one that’s already quite familiar to fans of the live shows. Distorted guitars buzz and howl against the blast of drums and bass, but despite the aggressive edge, Magnolia Summer retains its distinctive grace and vulnerability. With a band that features stalwarts of the St. Louis music community including; John Horton (Bottle Rockets), Mark Ray (Waterloo), Aaron Zeverski (Ring, Cicada), and Greg Lamb (The Lineman), Songwriter-multiinstrumentalist Chris Grabau crafts songs of isolation and disconnect: a life caught between work and home, love and loss, heart and hope, thoughts and words.
Over the last few years, Magnolia Summer has shared the stage with The Court and Spark, Robyn Hitchcock, Ken Stringfellow, Marah, Richmond Fontaine, the Bottle Rockets, Glossary, and Milton Mapes. The band was nominated in three categories in the 2004 St. Louis Riverfront Times Music Awards: “Best Americana Band,” “Album of the Year,” and “Artist of the Year.” Magnolia Summer was also nominated for “Best Americana Band” in the 2005 St. Louis Riverfront Times Music Awards and recently nominated for “Best Americana Band in the KDHX music awards. Magnolia Summer recently joined the Bottle Rockets, Jay Farrar, and Fontella Bass to contribute new tracks for the Chuck Berry tribute, Brown Eyed Handsome Man: St. Louis Salutes the Father of Rock N’ Roll.
Emusic - Review of From Driveways’ Lost View
The St. Louis group Magnolia Summer writes tense, quaking songs gilded with golden guitar jangle and topped with the raw, throaty vocals of Chris Grabau. They’re not alt-country per se, but there’s a definite twang and croon to their scuffed-up tunes that positions them close to bands like The Bottle Rockets. “Sum of All Fears” is a haunting slow burn, Grabau croaking out dire proclamations over plinking piano and dry guitar strum. “Sink or Swim” is sweeping and bright, anchored in a melodic guitar lead and driving, insistent percussion.
The Riverfront Times - May 10, 2006
“The end result is an engaging album that bursts with movement:… A little bit Wilco’s ragged storytelling, sometimes Built to Spill’s noisy-jumpy indie rock, often R.E.M.’s Out of Time-era regal jangle, View isn’t afraid to smash expectations or transcend genres.”
Playback:STL - May 2006
From Driveways’ Lost View, should cement Magnolia Summer’s reputation as a band of thrilling contrasts.