I Love Luke Duke

Dearest Luk/Luke/Lukey/Whatever You Are Calling Yourself These Days,

This is an open letter to you about your latest LP, Awakening Mercury’s Head for the Indies. I cannot, in good conscience, do a regular old review of this release, given the fact that you are a good friend of mine and my opinions are biased. That said, I want to be open, honest, and critical in a letter directly to you that my readers and your listeners can read in order to get a little bit of a feel for you as the artist that you are.

This release is a major step forward from anything you’ve ever done before. The music is more mature, the vocals are solid, and the lyrics are poetry. While your early days with Dreaming Under Mercury were fun and bubbly and your later material with the less pop oriented version of Dreaming Under Mercury is where you started to develop your voice, this release finds you coming into your own as a truly credible and powerful artist.

In earlier days, you wore your musical and vocal influences on your sleeves (or rather on your sleeveless arms) a bit too much. You have always rocked hard, but at times it felt like you were trying to be someone else. Whether it be your previous vocal emulations of Brandon Boyd or your intense musical similarities to Blindside, Chevelle, or (at one point specifically) Further Seems Forever, there always seemed a slight identity crisis in your musical past.

Today, however, those influences may still be evident, but in a much more unique way. Rather than sound like a copycat, you are your own you. Sure, like any great artist, the ghosts of other musical giants haunt your tunes, but never does Head for the Indies feel like music searching for an identity. This is you, all you… and it make me proud, both as a fan and a friend.

I’ve played this album for several friends, just to gauge a reaction. One friend, who listens primarily to arena rock (Creed, Fuel, etc.) found your music enjoyable but ultimately forgettable. This, however, is not the typical target audience for artier rock like this LP. The more appropriate prospective fan, a friend who’s musical tastes lie primarily in the realm of Further Seems Forever, Sensefield, Jimmy Eat World, and The Juliana Theory, found your LP thoroughly enjoyable and has been bugging me about a copy since that time. I guess your sound can hit home, afterall.

I’ve already been verbose, so I guess it’s time to starting wrapping up, especially seeing as I intend to post a full review at some point (by a guest reviewer, of course). I’d like to simply close this letter by saying that no one has ever deserved a chance to “make it” in music more than you. Always busting your ass to write, record, promote, and network, not to mention all the work you’ve done to help out other bands and artists… rock and roll is your lifestyle, but not in the sex and drugs kinda way, but rather in the way that you breathe, sleep, and eat music. One day, your dream will come true, but until that time I have no doubt that you’ll keep plugging along because no one I know loves music as much as you. Keep honing your craft and you’ll hit the big time… then I promise to ride your coattails as far as I can.

Your friend and fan,
Justin “thepaintedman” Harlan

PS. Since it’s Free Music Monday on TPM, I’m gonna let my readers download the opener off Head for the Indies, “In Winter”, for free. Hope that’s okay with you… if not, too bad!

~ by thepaintedman on August 30, 2010.

2 Responses to “I Love Luke Duke”

  1. I’m glad you wrote this up Justin. I was still planning on getting around to reviewing this album but I think you did so in this letter much more eloquently than I could have. I was also convicted about writing a review given I was IN Dreaming Under Mercury. I agree with everything you wrote about it in this letter.

  2. […] Sure, a few bands made their mark with great releases in 2010 (The Prids, Cook & UNO, Awakening Mercury, Pigeon John, Telegraph Canyon), but as a whole the year was marked more by underwhelming efforts […]

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