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Tavern Tan: Reviews

Roots-Rockin' Band At Godfrey Daniels

When not making road trips to New Orleans, as Tavern Tan did in April, or opening for The Neville Brothers, Van Morrison and John Lee Hooker, the Lehigh Valley quintet often plies its trade in area taprooms such as Bethlehem's Funhouse. However, on Saturday Tavern Tan will present its blues-heavy, roots-rockin' music in more genteel quarters, at Godfrey Daniels. And why not? The band is more than capable of juke-joint jive full of hot guitar licks, rhythmic backbone and down-and-dirty harmonica. But Tavern Tan's songs also have depth and emotion— perfect for a listening room.
Best of the Weekend - Morning Call (Jun 26, 2008)
The Morning Call

Local Sountracks

Tavern Tan

Those who spend their days sleeping in and their nights at the local honky-tonk basking in the shining neon of lights develop what is known as the tavern tan.

Bands that play out a lot also develop this look, and one listen to Tavern Tan's debut disc, ''Foxed, Flawed & Cupshot,'' a tightly played collection of rock 'n' roll, American roots music and blues, will tell you this group is acquainted with the lifestyle.

Everyone in the band writes songs and takes a turn on lead vocals (during live shows they also switch instruments occasionally).

Vocalist-guitarist Doug Ashby, known for his blues-based band Hurry Down Sunshine, pulls out all the stops on ''I Ain't Got You'' as he runs through what he has — cigarettes, gas in the car, a temporary job — everything but what he really wants. Ashby is ably complemented by countrified R&B guitar and Tom Aczel's down-home harmonica.
Guitarist Andrew Brubaker's ''Becky Brown'' is an original murder ballad, updated lyrically but sung in a folksy Americana style, while ''Caroline Lee,'' written by Aczel, is about the girl everyone desires — to their detriment. The upbeat swing style and the rhythmic tempo set by drummer Dave Joachim make it a great dance track.

The disc ends with a cover of the late RL Burnside song ''Jumper On The Line.'' Tavern Tan tears it up wildly, with Ashby's rough, frantic vocals and rapid-guitar riffs a testament to the passing on of a tradition to able hands.
Rosemary Pratka - The Morning Call (Sep 2, 2006)
Get Into the Act

11/8/07

Tavern Tan harmonica player Tom Aczel first heard the term ''tavern tan'' in a book he was reading. A character said: ''I've got to work on my tavern tan.'' Of course a tavern tan is not a tan at all but the pallor of hanging out in bars and spending very little time in the daylight.

''Being a band that plays a lot, we are always in bars and clubs, and I always liked the word 'tavern.' When you think of a tavern you think of a place that is special and has a history, and that kind of place is disappearing,'' says Aczel.

Calling its sound ''live American music,'' Tavern Tan plays a driving blend of original rock 'n' roll, mixing in blues and honky-tonk country, evoking the good time feeling of a night out in your favorite local dive. That's the case with the songs on the band's second release ''3 Horse Power,'' which it's celebrating with a party Saturday at The Funhouse in Bethlehem.



Dan McKinney, who helped produce and record the new disc, will be a guest on keyboards for the first set. ''Our first set will be a lot more quiet and acoustic,'' says guitarist Doug Ashby who will sing his ''Call Jesus,'' a down-and-out, on-the-road type ballad that calls to mind Hank Williams. Then it will be on to Tavern Tan's rousing rock.

''Our shows are very varied and we usually never have a set list,'' says Ashby. But crowd favorites like ''Monkey with a Fez On,'' with the totem monkey on stage, and ''Rock & Roll Shoes'' are sure to have the audience dancing.

Rosemary Pratka
Morning Call (Nov 13, 2007)