When Micah Schnabel sings of waking up to the wreckage of a morning after, surrounded by brimming ashtrays and girls with "blood-filled eyes” and some stranger lying on the floor, you tend to believe his is the voice of harrowing experience.
The dark imagery of "Your Humble Narrator” is just the beginning of a 13-song cycle that deals with the rigors of growing up wrong, substance abuse and the wasting of youth, troubled relationships and crushing heartbreak. "The sun has a way of making us pay for our revelry-filled nights,” he rasps mournfully on the opening track of "Speaking in Cursive,” the fourth album from the Columbus, Ohio-based Two Cow Garage, and the listener can’t help but feel his pain. "Being in a band that’s been together nine years now, when we wrote that first record (‘Please Turn the Gas Back On’), I was 17 years old,” singer-guitarist Schnabel said in a recent phone interview with The Oklahoman. "And coming from a small town (Bucyrus, Ohio), it started out on the country end of things. And we’ve just been growing, being on the road as much as we are and meeting the people we have, and I don’t know, just growing up and maturing. It’s definitely a much more mature record. "I’m just trying to make the writing stronger, and as far as the sound, it’s just an evolution. I don’t think we’ve made any crazy steps but just an evolution, just as we get older, how it changes.” Soundwise, the one-time quartet of Schnabel, bassist-vocalist Shane Sweeney, guitarist Chris Flint and drummer Cody Smith has grown to a quintet with the addition of Andy Schell on keyboards, adding a new depth and richness to the band’s instrumental attack.
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Two Cow Garage
→What: Opening for Tumbledown.
→With: Andrew Anderson, John Moreland, the Dead Armadillos. →Where: The Conservatory, 8911 N Western. →When: 6:30 tonight. →Information: www.conservatoryokc.com.