The Mighty Orq: To the Bone

They must hear it every single show, so it was downright gracious (and no doubt ironic) of the Mighty Orq to thank the people who "yelled 'Play some Stevie!'" in the liner notes of To the Bone. In truth, the Bayou City blues-rockers are much less indebted to Stevie Ray Vaughan than to his rhythm section Double Trouble's post-SRV project the Arc Angels and, in turn, the Angels' musical and spiritual mentor Eric Clapton. Whereas Vaughan's high-octane attack rarely ventured very far outside the 12-bar framework of the blues, both Clapton and the Angels were much more willing to introduce outside elements (sophisticated Beatles-based pop, for one) into their sound.

The same holds true for To the Bone, which, while very much a platform for the six-string heroics of the trio's eponymous frontman, contains few songs (aside from the Allmans-esque "4 + 1" and the Cream-y "The Good Love") that could be classified as straight blues. Rockers such as opener "Falling Down" and "Set Me Free" sally forth on vintage Zeppelin riffs (and attendant Clapton/Jimmy Page-like fretwork), and "Hangin' On" and "If You Will" likewise seem lifted straight from the "Heartbreaker" mold. However, the playful piano chords and falsetto vocals of "Rainy Day" and acoustic-based "Blue Eyes" are overt attempts to capture the hearts of John Mayer fans.

As the titles imply, Orq's lyrics are as workmanlike as the music and largely confined to his success or failure at love — the scathing "H.O." will win him few feminist friends, though "Falling Down" and the aforementioned ballads are considerably more sympathetic. However unfashionable solid, meat-and-potatoes rock like To the Bone may be to the more indie-attuned ears on the coasts, in Texas it never truly goes out of style.

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray