For me, Two Cow Garage is one of those essential bands – the band that serves as a node to other, similar music. Over the past few years, Two Cow Garage has solidified their own, distinctive sound. However, their roots in punk and Americana are still evident in their work. In my estimation, it is Two Cow's unique voice and full-throttled passion that have placed them at the forefront of a small but fruitful community of like-minded artists.
While the cast of players has changed over the years, the band's core is formed by lead singer and guitarist Micah Schnabel and bassist Shane Sweeney, whose solo album made my top three of 2011. They've spent the last ten years or so criss-crossing this nation and several others, flooring crowds with the sheer lifeforce they pour into their live performances. I walked out of my first (and so far only) Two Cow show feeling like it was my first rock concert.
In his brilliant interview with lead singer Micah Schnabel on Mostly Harmless, Damian summarizes the key to the band's appeal:
"They came to life as an explosion before my eyes. The power and the being that they become is a baptism of sweat and fire and PBR. ...Micah and Shane's songs snuck into my psyche and I found my own insecurities echoed through outright and honest and brutal lyrics. I no longer felt so alone in this world."
Though Two Cow Garage's (particularly Micah's) lyrics are often filled with frustration and despair, they are always reinforced with defiance and a determination to live through it all. Each song is a manifesto, an unapologetic declaration of claiming the life you have. Truly, in times like these, it's artists like Shane and Micah who give us the courage to continue. I'll close with some of my favorite lyrics.
“Being afraid of living is just the same as dying” – Glass City
"Don't you ever make the mistake
Of thinking of the past as the good old days
It's a son of a bitch being young
Holding your youth like a loaded gun" -- Folksinger's Heart
"All the bedrooms and battlescars,
Minor chords and pinball hearts,
Cheap tricks and false starts,
The smoke and mirrors act I've used so well.
Only I can save me from myself,
No woman, no God, and no one else,
Is gonna pick you up and teach you the disappearing act I've used so well." -- Sweet Saint Me
When apathetic melancholy was all the rage
There was never any brass ring to be found" -- Brass Ring
"Salvation's not the first word
Just the one that comes to mind
My path isn't perfect
But it's better than waiting around to die.
No heaven above
And no Hell below
No one tending the light
To take you when you go.
A final warning shot.
This is all you've got!
I want this to be yours!" -- Soundtrack to My Summer
American Rock Mix has a bootleg for your listening pleasure here
Micah Schnabel – Blog
Shane Sweeney – Facebook