Salad days are here again

Warmer weather means salad time.

Note that we’re not talking about tossed salads or rusty trombones or the dirty Sanchez, for that matter. Sometimes a salad is just a salad, and when you get a hankering for a really good salad, Jack’s Urban Eats at 20th and Capitol is tops. Hey, if I wasn’t destitute, I might be eating at Jack’s every day.

Anyway, on the parking-lot backside of Jack’s, facing the railroad tracks, there’s a painted mural advertising the self-titled album of a band named Jackson Road.

Given the band’s name, I figured it would be some kind of “new country” outfit. Instead, the band on the CD sounds like late-’60s Canadian band the Guess Who, albeit without most of the irresistible hooks, reworked using a U2 How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb template.

Now, singer Nate Weldon doesn’t have a bad voice, and it’s mixed way up front here. He has the form and woo-hoo of U2’s Bono mated with the Ramada Inn-lounge jive of the Guess Who’s Burton Cummings—which isn’t necessarily a slag, by the way. As for the band’s sound, the grooves range from several variations of the kind of faux-Latin rock, “American Woman” by way of Lenny Kravitz feel that U2 explored on “A Man and a Woman,” to something more ponderous, although with nicely textured guitars.

Best thing on the CD is “Alchemical Woman,” which has a nice vibe and guitar hook along with a pretty swell bridge. But that doesn’t make up for unintentional comedy like “Hippi Chick,” or the often sophomoric lyrics, which read like Lenny Kravitz throwaways. They hamstring songs like “Gettin Wise,” which otherwise might make for passable ersatz Zeppelin.

Not sure if these guys are rich kids who decided to make a record or average Joes who blew their promotional budget on a 100-foot mural on the backside of my favorite salad joint. And I feel kinda crummy writing not-so-kind things about the record, because a lot of hard work went into it. Nevertheless, one must be honest.

Didn’t make it to Jackson Road’s album-release gig at Harlow’s at the beginning of April, but I did groove on the superb evening bike-riding weather to hit the monthly David Houston gig at Luna’s Café this weekend. Houston typically plays Luna’s on the last Saturday of the month, usually with his superb string section (cellist Alison Sharkey, violist Christina Maradik and violinist Reylynn Goessling) along with backing musicians (this time, bassist Shawn Hale, drummer Mark Harrod) and guest vocalists (Sal Valentino, Kate Gaffney). Add two other acts—Baby Grand, touting a new EP, and Hearts+Horses, a reworked, more ambient iteration of the late, lamented Park Avenue Music, and you have a stellar evening of music.

Now, three acts for six bucks, in an intimate cafe setting, is a bargain. Unfortunately, those customers were also treated to the annoying spectacle of a photographer who moved around the small space, constantly snapping photos, often with a flash. After the first 50 or 100 shots, her shtick became really distracting, making a few of us feel like we were camped out in Britney Spears’ driveway. Ain’t it funny how one clueless person can mar an otherwise great show?