When you tell people your band’s name, and they mishear it as “Two Shits,” there’s probably something wrong. “Two Shits” might work for a punk band or a Tenacious D song title, but if your band is a sultry, slow, country-inflected, mood-rock outfit, then you probably don’t want your audience thinking about even one shit, let alone two.
Sultry, country-inflected mood rock is exactly what the trio known as Two Sheds (that’s sheds) is all about, so you’ll have to get the name straight. At least until the band changes it. In the meantime, know that Jackpot singer-songwriter Rusty Miller and Milwaukee singer-songwriter John Gutenberger are not people who generally associate themselves with lackluster projects. These are legendary Sacramento musicians, and it stands to reason that any musical outfit they choose to back is going to be something worth listening to. That’s certainly true of Prairie Dog—one of Miller’s several side projects—and it’s also true of Two Sheds.
The interesting thing about Two Sheds is that it is fronted by someone most music fans aren’t yet aware of. In addition to being the wife of John Gutenberger, Caitlin Gutenberger is a songwriter and singer in her own right. She has employed both her husband and his Jackpot bandmate Miller to back her up, with John on bass and Miller on drums. Caitlin herself is the frontwoman who sings and plays a minimal but effective electric guitar.
The music of Two Sheds crosses a couple of musical genres, as evidenced by the band’s recent set at the Blue Lamp. Caitlin’s voice has a slight country tinge to it—a bit like Gillian Welch’s perhaps—but the music is slow, electric and emotional. Mazzy Star and even Portishead come to mind, but perhaps the most immediate comparison would be to the Cowboy Junkies—another band that combined a country aesthetic with reverberating guitars and a Velvet Underground and Nico feel.
If there’s one small criticism to throw toward the band, it lies in Caitlin’s confidence level onstage. Granted, she hasn’t played too many live shows at this point, but she tended to perform with her head down, staring at an empty spot near the front of the stage. Simply looking up and out at the audience might be enough to keep the audience’s eyes on the band. Later, she can work on stage diving, rolling in peanut butter and broken glass, pyrotechnics and fancy guitar-hero poses, but first, she should just look at the audience. We paid money to see her, after all.
Find more on Two Sheds (that’s sheds) at www.myspace.com/twosheds.
In other news, Senses is a relatively new, free arts magazine put out by Senses boutique, gallery and gift shop (located at 1901 1/2 Capitol Avenue). The magazine covers the local arts scene—especially fashion. The new issue includes a two-page interview with Call Me Ishmael, allowing the band an opportunity to discuss its superb new album, Lyra & the new moon. Stop by Senses and pick up a local CD.