by Bruce Sylvester
I’d never heard Surprise Me Mr. Davis before checking them out two weeks ago at Club Passim in Harvard Square. Their lead singer/co-author Nathan Moore’s solo CD Folk Singer is so cool, I figured the quintet could be too.
Basically, Surprise Me Mr. Davis is Brad and Andrew Barr and Marc Friedman (all of The Slip) plus Moore and keyboardist Marco Benevento. They lived up to my hopes – smart pop rockers whose new EP’s title That Man Eats Morning For Breakfast (on Royal Potato Family) gives you an idea of the phrases they come up with. Listen closely.
The harmonies on the EP’s debut track, “Roses in Bottles,” have an early Byrds vibe. “Sissyfuss” (catch the mythological reference) has vestiges of Bob Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm” and Woody Guthrie’s “Ramblin’ Round.” As for “I’m No Good At All,” the video they posted on Youtube provides a free glimpse of their humor.
They closed the Club Passim concert with an astounding a cappella harmonizing/stomping feet number that could almost step off of a 1940s Alan Lomax field recording. It’s not on their CD, but it’s one of two songs from the evening that kipdog has posted on Youtube. (Thanks, kipdog.)