NOAH STERBA - The 13-bar Blues LP

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Noah Sterba is one of Omaha’s underground music heroes, literally performing most of his songs and poetry into dented Radio Shack microphones in the subterranean basements of tornado alley for the last decade. Beside releasing several solo cassettes on Unread Records, he was a founding member of short-lived critical darlings Yuppies, lo-fi local legends The Prairies (which also featured David Nance), and The Subtropics (whose posthumous double cassette is seeing vinyl reissue in 2017), and has been an important member of Simon Joyner’s Ghosts since 2011. He is also involved in a multimedia art/publishing collaboration called Slowed Soul with fellow local Omaha artist and musician Jeff Sedrel. In a time when so much music is fueled by self-congratulatory irony, The 13-Bar Blues is refreshing for its unapologetic sincerity. The album distills folk, blues, punk rock and country influences and merges them with poetry, allowing Sterba to graciously tear up his hat in the face of those who have come before him as he claws through America’s gnarly 21st century landscape with his tongue, pen, busted guitar, and wide open eyes. “I think it is music that needs to be out there right now... Almost every sort of rock or folk music, musics born of protest and boiling blood and grit and energy, has lulled back into apathy. Over the last six years this album created itself and whether or not it means anything is up to other people to decide, I suppose. What I can say is I put every ounce of guts and soul I got into this. It is me being as convicted and truthful as I can be about all I have seen around me and inside me since I started doing this thing.”