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No River City: Wolves and Fishes

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At first listen, No River City's Wolves and Fishes sounds like a musical conversation between Ryan Adams' jangling acoustic guitar and Cracker's electric sloth. But several more plays reveal vivid stories about a scruffy everyman with a chip on his should against rich people and frustrated by his bad luck with girls, who works as a janitor and handyman and whose parents were gun-toting bank-robbing outlaws.

NRC's lead singer and songwriter, Drew de Man, is quite a storyteller. His colorful tales—even more than his folksy, well-rounded melodies­—will draw you in and make you want to find out what happens next. As you're becoming hooked, you realize what capable musicians he plays with. The song "Jacy Farrow" tells a simple story of love gone horribly wrong. Boy wants to run away with girl, girl says her daddy won't allow it, boy slaps girl, and girl's daddy shoots boy dead. Told from a young boy's perspective, "Raised By Outlaws" shows nothing bonds a family like a little bank robbery and being on the lam together: "Momma drove a getaway car from the Second American Bank / Smiled as she threw the money under the floor and I held up the plank."

The band formed in 2000 after de Man returned to Georgia from a year of living in Europe. NRC toured the Southeastern states several times, and peaked in 2003 when their first album, This Is Our North Dakota, developed a following on college and community radio stations on the East coast. The band reorganized in 2005 and released Wolves and Fishes earlier this year. You can hear "Jacy Farrow" and three other NRC songs at Myspace.com/norivercity.