A Review of Tuesday Nights in Havana: Two Shadows, One Sun (Sweet Sounds Records, 2020)
Tuesday Nights in Havanaa is a duo made up of Keith Rn Chandler and Blake Conley. Conley is an unmistakable presence in the city of Louisville, wearing cowboy attire whenever possible. Chandler lives in North Carolina, giving their collaboration distance but, as many of us know, that doesn’t stop bands nor duos from working together in the age of the internet. Two Shadows, One Sun is an exercise in restraint with sparse and deceptively simple compositions. Upon repeated listens, one is transported more and more into a story world set up by Conley and Chandler’s songs. Perhaps I was a little influenced by my familiarity with Conley and his cowboy stylings, but this EP feels like it comes straight out of a western, with all the dirt, grime, and mythological shoot-em-ups of which one can dream.
A bell rings and then the sound of guitar, a tambourine, and thumping sounds fill the air with “(Tuesday Night) Theme for a Bad Decision”. It has the feeling of an old dusty town with tumbleweeds rolling amidst its sparse population. Here, Conley and Chandler flex their musical muscles as storytellers, painting a picture both unseen and yet familiar to the listener. No words are necessary as the twang of the guitar signals, perhaps, one of those high noon confrontations waiting to happen. Two mythical cowboys facing off in their testosterone fueled wild west.
Track two, “Theme for a Tuesday (Upon Meeting Buddha in the Drag Pit)”, features synth work and what sounds like field recordings. While still hanging on to the story thread of the cowboy and his journey, the composition is more meditative and flowing. Perhaps that meeting with Buddha had something to do with it. Sitting in the drag pit, whatever the duo imagine that is, might cause one to be contemplative. The final track on this brief E.P. is entitled “Havana Sunset” and features a bow to string melody that echoes off into the distance not long after appearing. It is replaced by a bell and chimes. Conley sings in echoing tones that communicate exhaustion, longing, and, perhaps, regret. As a bell rings the E.P into focus, it also is finished with the sound of the bell, bringing one back to its beginnings.
Two Shadows, One Sun by Tuesday Nights in Havanna presents a small but compelling intersection between the sonic and the storyteller. Painting images with sound and, in the end, supplying vocals to build upon the imagined character I felt was in the story, makes this sparse and exquisitely executed E.P. a must have. Get your copy at the Bandcamp link below.