The Lost Cabin and the Mystery Trees

Album Reviews

by ??

Calling All Dogs Lovers

I just shelved all the other music I've been listening to of late, consigned it to the shelves, because the album is here. It's the latest from those lovable pups themselves, The Lost Dogs, with a new release called The Lost Cabin and the Mystery Trees. Doesn't the title itself provoke your interest?

If you don't already know it, The Lost Dogs are, at least by talent if not fame, a "super-group" made up of Terry Scott Taylor (Daniel Amos), Mike Roe (77s), Derri Daugherty (The Choir), and, until his untimely death a few years ago, Gene Eugene (Adam Again). This time around the boys add old friend Steve Hindalong (The Choir; City On a Hill) on drums and to assist with production. Bottom line: This is the best they've done in a long time, a thoroughly enjoyable mix of rustic pop, alt-country, and flat out rock and roll with both songs with poignant lyrics and tongue-in-cheek humor served up Southern California style. Were they mainstream, a label like Lost Highway would have snapped them up by now. But that's OK.

As on the last few records the talented Terry Taylor does most of the writing, but it's good to see a couple great Daugherty and Hindalong songs and one Roe song here as well. Topically, the songs are peopled with the down and out, from the dysfunctional marriage of "This Business Is Goin' Down" ("Well you nagged me into getting that loan from your daddy/ who calls me 'that damn ne'er-do-well'/ Bet he'd love to see his little angel come home/ while getting off watching me in hell/ I've tried free balloons, a mechanical ape/ and markin' everything half off/ While you're at home watchin' TV shows/ it's quite a thrill here being my own boss") to the "cowboy musical" of "Only One Bum In Corona del Mar" ("Corona del Mar, Crown of the Sea/ We nobles agree just how lucky we are/ Plenty of plenty for you and for me/ and there's only one bum in Corona del Mar"). Much of this is the realm of country music, the downtrodden, lost, wasted, and love-sunk. It works well with the country vibe.

In the end, however, faith comes through. In "Get Me Ready," admist the driving rock beat, Terry and the rest of the Dogs are asking God to get him ready for whatever comes, good and bad ("Get me ready for the broken hearted/ the downtrodden, deaf, blind, dumb, and lame/ the growing number of friends departed/ for those who love you/ or those who curse your name/ Lord, get me ready to see your face/ or get me ready to face you/ For your justice, love and infinite grace/ get me ready (for it)/ get me ready (for it)/ Get me ready to embrace you.") And in "That's Where Jesus Is," Terry is saying Jesus is where the lowly are, with the homeless, the folks in bars, the prostitutes, the bums, and others, not with the rich and powerful, and that's where he wants us, "he wants our hearts."

You know, when all the stories are told, The Lost Dogs are really just saying "we're lost, and now we're found." It's a timeless message, and it happens every day.

So fellow lost dogs, buy this record. You'll be glad you did. You might even find yourself in the songs..


by Tony Shore

I was going to call this post "The Lost Dogs Come Home" but that would have be too easy, too cliche. It would have also, however, been completely accurate. The Lost Cabin and the Mystery Trees is a true return to form for the Lost Dogs and the best music they've produced since the passing of the great Gene Eugene. As talented as Terry Taylor, Mike Roe and Derri Dougherty are, I wasn't sure this 3-legged dog could ever stand on it's own again the way it had with Gene. For those of you that haven't ever heard the Lost Dogs and don't know who these people are, just know that they are a super-group of talented independent artists that play the best blend of alt, Americana and pop that you can possibly imagine. They are, unfortunately, still one of the best-kept secrets in music.

The Dogs have now made Steve Hindalong an official forth member. This addition along with some of the best songs Terry and the boys have written make this one a must have. The lyrics alone are well worth the price of admission. I will warn those of you that frequent this blog that this release does have a bit of an alt-country and Americana vibe...not my standard fare, but the melodies and lyrics are so good it really does transcend any genre preferences you may have and there's plenty of that Beatles-style pop influence in the writing..

The Phantom Tollbooth

by David J. Cervantes

Since the passing of fellow founding band member Gene Eugene in March of 2000, the Lost Dogs have put out more CDs than when he was with them.This year, with their new release, they have created a disc that is their best in the post Gene Eugene era. Terry Taylor, Michael Roe, and Derri Daugherty, along with Steve Hindalong, have pooled their talents for eleven quality songs that make up The Lost Cabin and the Mystery Trees.

Taylor, as in previous Lost Dogs releases, handled the bulk of the songwriting. The disc has a distinct American/Country like feel to it, with tunes like "Devil's Elbow" and "Get Me Ready" handling the rockier aspects of the genre. "The Lost Cabin and the Mystery Trees" and "This Business is Going Down" are examples of Taylor's gift for writing from the characters' point of view in his songs. "Only One Bum in Corona Del Mar" is clearly the fun song, chronicling the amusing story of an odd man who seemed to love troubling the residents of his town. With "Hardening My Heart," Roe's vocals and Taylor's lyrics blend perfectly to express the disappointments of a long difficult life.

Fans who have been clamoring for a few more songs written by band members not named Terry Taylor have a proverbial bone thrown to them three times. Daugherty and Hindalong penned two songs. The first, "Whispering Memories," is a sad song of deep heartbreak beautifully communicated through Daugherty's trademark soothing vocals. The second is the charming "Burn It up," a song about the band's love and joy experienced in working with each other to bring the people their songs. Roe's "One More Day," which he also sings, is a sweet expression of a man's offering of himself to God despite the many things in life that could have caused him to do otherwise.

The highlight of this record is the closer, "That's Where Jesus Is." Early Lost Dogs releases had anthem like songs, such as "Pray Where You Are," "Breathe Deep" and "Reasonable Service," and this song fits in well with those. Taylor powerfully expresses the idea of Jesus hanging out with those folks that are mired in the darker places of this world, as opposed to being overly concerned with the well to do people. The chorus sums the song up well:

That's Jesus in the homeless faces
With the junkies in their livin' hell
That's Jesus with the drunks and in
The lonely places
The rest homes and prison cells
After last year's instrumental Island Dreams and 2004's Mutt (covers of DA, 77s and Choir songs), fans of the Lost Dogs should be giddy at the thought of 11 original songs done in spirit of this band's initial four releases.

5 Tocks


by by Andre Salles

I have a lot I could write about this week.

We're in the middle of the summer tidal wave, and I'm practically inundated with new tunes. Just from the last week, I have the new Muse (scattered and bizarre), the new Sufjan Stevens outtakes album (fantastic, if a little less fantastic than its parent record), and the solo debut of Thom Yorke (pretty awful). I'm also still forming my opinion of one of the year's most ambitious projects, the new triple-CD from the Early November, a band I'd previously ignored. This is good stuff, though, a big leap from their prior records, and all wrapped in a neat concept, even if the execution is a little cliched.

I could also talk about the huge number of new records I'm looking forward to, including the new Bruce Cockburn next week, and the August arrival of new ones from Ani Difranco, Unwed Sailor, Outkast, the Mars Volta, Bob Dylan and Ty Tabor. (You'll probably never see all those names in the same sentence again.) There's also the double solo record from Matthew Friedberger (of the Fiery Furnaces) coming up, and what I have heard of that is, to put it mildly, insane.

Yeah, I could talk about all of that. But even with all of the amazing music I already have, and the no-doubt amazing music I have yet to hear, I'm probably most excited about a little country record by a bunch of old guys nobody's ever heard of.

Longtime readers will be familiar with them, though. They're called the Lost Dogs, and what started as a novelty project for four of my favorite songwriters has turned into a main gig, one with its own history and extensive back catalog. They were the Traveling Wilburys, pop-rockers moonlighting as cowboys, but now they're more like Crosby, Stills and Nash - three guys who have found a brotherhood and a rare musical harmony with each other.

A quick history lesson. In 1991, four of the best songsmiths to never breach the mainstream decided to take a vacation from their main bands and make a fun record called Scenic Routes. Terry Taylor is the genius behind Daniel Amos, Derri Daugherty is the voice of the Choir, Mike Roe is the blues-loving guitar god who leads the 77s, and the late, great Gene Eugene was the main man in the brilliant Adam Again. If none of those names sound familiar to you, I actually envy you - you have decades of fantastic records to catch up on.

Part of the thrill of Scenic Routes was in hearing these guys pull on their cowboy boots and sing this truly rootsy stuff, this dusty blues and twangy country. Taylor has a history with it - the first two Daniel Amos albums are ten-gallon-hat affairs - but hearing the others in this setting was the best kind of odd. The first three Dogs albums are all over the map, from sweet country ballads to Beach Boys pop to three-chord blues crunchers, and the fun these guys had making them is obvious. With 1999's Gift Horse, the others took a back seat to Taylor, who wrote nearly every song - that record was more consistent, yet a tad less fun.

And then, in 2000, Gene Eugene died.

And though the Dogs have soldiered on since then, it hasn't been the same. Real Men Cry, the first three-legged Dogs album, had some great moments, but felt like the trio convincing itself to keep going, and the four efforts that followed have been a mixed bag. Nazarene Crying Towel was a beautiful gospel album, but a live record (Green Room Serenade Part Tour), an album of reinventions of old songs (Mutt), and a diversion into instrumental beach music (Island Dreams) all in a row made the band seem rudderless. None of their material is bad - far from it - but one got the sense that they hadn't fully recovered from Gene's passing.

Until now, that is.

I can't tell you how glad I am to report that their new album, The Lost Cabin and the Mystery Trees, is their strongest in more than half a decade. In fact, if you draw a line after Eugene's death, then I would go so far as to say that this is the definitive Lost Dogs 2.0 record. It is the first since Real Men Cry that doesn't feel like a side project - the guys are obviously committed and dedicated to these 11 songs, and the record positively crackles with energy and flat-out fun.

I'm not sure what to attribute this newfound excitement to, but the most apparent and important change is the official addition of Steve Hindalong as the fourth Lost Dog. Hindalong is the drummer for the Choir, and one of the most original and astounding percussionists you'll ever see. He's been playing with the Dogs for years, bringing along his array of bizarre, exotic drums and shakers, and it's nice to see that his contributions have been recognized with this well-deserved promotion.

I also like that while Hindalong is the first person invited into the fold since Eugene's death, he's obviously not trying to replace him. No one could, of course, but many of the suggestions floated through the years (Phil Madeira, Michael Knott, other earthy singer-guitarists) would have seemed like patching a wound, like bringing in someone to stand in Gene's spot. Hindalong could never be accused of that - he's the guy in the back, with the mallets, adding something entirely different. It's an inspired choice..

The band also enlisted Daniel Amos and Choir bassist Tim Chandler, as they often do, and what he brings to the picture is hard to overstate as well. He is one of the four or five best bass players in the world, mostly because he never just supports the tune, he explores it. Chandler has the uncanny knack of filling the spaces in any song on which he plays, adding exactly what's needed, and never making the easy choice, like too many bassists do.

So the gang's all here, and thanks to Hindalong's production, the sound is fantastic, thick and gleaming. But all that would mean little if the songs weren't there, so it's cause for celebration that these are the best, most fun, most thoughtful Dogs tunes in ages. Head writer Terry Taylor steps up with some classics, beginning with the opening shot, a sweet lament called "Broken Like Brooklyn." The structures are all very simple and breezy - these are cowboy songs, after all - but the lyrics are uniformly excellent, and the Dogs sound inspired throughout.

"Broken Like Brooklyn" is about the year the Dodgers left for Los Angeles, a metaphor for loneliness and emptiness, and it sets the tone - much of The Lost Cabin is about yearning, starving for love. The title song is a classic cowboy number about tracking down a missing paramour who went in search of gold. It's full of lovely harmonies and classic Taylor lines, like when the singer asks, "Did you find your little bit of heaven? Well, I hope that it's missing one thing..." And his "This Business is Goin' Down" is a hilarious tale of a failed entrepreneur and his gold-digging girl: "Now that business is in the ground, guess so are we, honey..."

The other Dogs contribute great songs as well. Daugherty and Hindalong's "Whispered Memories" is plainly about Daugherty's recent divorce, and as weepy a country ballad as you'd want to hear. And Mike Roe gives us another wonderful Mike Roe song with "One More Day." But what's truly fascinating for long-time fans is just how good Taylor has become at writing for his bandmates - he almost out-Roes Roe with "Hardening My Heart," which Mike steps into like a well-tailored suit, if you'll pardon the pun.

And then there are the surprises, both from Taylor. "Only One Bum in Corona Del Mar" is a splendid radio play-slash-trash opera, with witty narration from each Dog, and a children's chorus bringing it home. It is easily the most bizarre thing the band has done, and it's followed immediately by "Get Me Ready," the most blazing rocker in their catalog. This is Rust Never Sleeps era Neil Young, explosive and powerful, and it's easy to forget that half the band is over 50, with the other half right behind them.

Live, this song is a corker. I had the pleasure of seeing the band last week at the Warehouse in Aurora, and they were sharp, funny, and terrific. Their harmonies are always captivating live, and the new lineup has Daugherty on bass and Taylor on acoustic while Roe peals off gorgeous licks on his electric. They even debuted a number of new comedy routines - the Lost Dogs are almost a traveling Vaudeville act, and this time, they brought props. It was a great show, as always, and the new stuff sounds great next to the old classics.

The album concludes with a Dogs tradition, a singalong gospel number. But this time, there's a twist - "That's Where Jesus Is" is a stinging indictment of those who would use religion as a political tool, and an urging to follow his example and help the less fortunate. "On the corner 'round the prostitutes is where He'll probably show," Taylor sings. "He gets invited to church sometimes, and sometimes He don't go..."

I know, I know. A gospel song, that mentions Jesus by name, sung by guys that Google will tell you are Christian musicians. If you're worried about being preached to - a fear which keeps many away from this spiritual corner of the music world - then let me assure you, I share the same fear, and the Dogs have never made me uncomfortable. I've always found them to be about exploring their own faith, not chastising me for my lack of same, and the honesty they bring to their work is warm and inviting.

It is entirely possible that most people reading this will hear The Lost Cabin and not understand why I'm making a big deal out of it. It is, after all, a simple set of traditional-sounding songs, some of which could sit well on country radio. And maybe the charm of the Dogs is lost on those who haven't followed their careers. I don't know, but I listen to this and I hear a rebirth, a new lease on life for some of my favorite musicians. They sound comfortable, creative and ready for their second 15 years, and I'm ready for them, too.

The individual Dogs have been experiencing musical rebirths on their own as well. Last year's Fun With Sound is an amazing new project from Michael Roe, and the new Choir, O How the Mighty Have Fallen, is their best since 1990. There are rumblings of a new 77s and a new Daniel Amos, too, and the last Daniel Amos album, 2001's double disc Mr. Buechner's Dream, may be their best ever. They're getting older, but they're not going away, and records like The Lost Cabin and the Mystery Trees are like little miracles to this longtime fan.

Of course, you can't buy it in stores, but you can get it here. While you've got your credit card out, go here, here, and here. For the first time in a long while, the new ones listed above are all the best places to start.

by Larryl

the lost dogs are back, in the style we have come to expect from them. after the scathing reviews of last years instrumental album "island dreams", the boys come back with an album of alt-country rockers and gorgeous ballads, reminiscent of "gift horse' and the first two lost dogs albums.

for the unitiated, the lost dogs originally consisted of the frontmen of arguable the four most important bands in christian rock : terry taylor (daniel amos), michael roe (the 77s), derri daugherty (the choir) and gene eugene (adam again). with this foray, 6 years removed from gene's untimely passing, the dogs add choir drummer steve hindalong as the official fourth dog. for additional support, they toss is matt slocum on pedal steel, and tim chandler's great bass work.

the album album is a perfect mix of slow burning ballads and straight out country rock, containing some of the best music the band has ever made. the high point, for me, is the 'get me ready', a barn burner rip-roaring rocker asking God to get us ready to meet him, featuring scorching guitar work from mike roe. this could almost be a 77s song, and easily the hardest-rocking the guys have ever sounded. 'devil's elbow' is another up-tempo tune, a re-made daniel amos classic, from 'songs of the heart', that seems to be pure fun. to counterbalance these, 'one more day', the only roe-pened song on the album is a cowboy song, seeming at first to be about love gone wrong, before, like many of roe's songs, turning into an ode to seeing the better side of things, using our time here on earth wisely. the album closer, 'that's where jesus is' is an anthem type song, along the lines of 'breathe deep (the breth of god)" or "pray where you are", reminding us that god loves the downtrodden, the broken, and that he is more concerned with us helping one another than with our houses, cars, politics, or even hit songs.

Overall, the quite possibly the strongest album in the lost dogs already very impressive catalog, and one that fans of anyone involved should own.

Lost Dogs Message Board

by Mo Jojo

I was just reading the lyrics to 'Broken Like Brooklyn', the first track on the new CD. It's a beautiful song, like all the new tunes, and the lyrics are no exception. Well done, Mr. Taylor! Lovin' the new release guys!

This CD is first class from start to finish. The quality of recording is top notch, the music beautiful, the lyrics brilliant, and the result is an out-of-the-park home run CD. Could this be the best one yet? Click on the store button, buy a copy, and hear for yourself!

Lost Dogs Message Board

by Peawinkel

The Lost Dogs are at it again. Their latest release, The Lost Cabin And The Mystery Trees, is similar to Little Red Riding Hood in the variety of musical directions and lyrical excellence. The legends known as Terry Taylor, Mike Roe, and Derri Daugherty return for their ninth studio effort sporting a new Doggie. Steve Hindalong is officially Lost now, although his presence was quite evident in last year's Island Dreams.

Broken Like Brooklyn opens the CD. It's a comparative ballad of the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn, bringing dismay and angst to their faithful followers, to "losing the best". An alt-country tribute that sets the tone of the inner sleeve dedication "in loving memory of Gene Eugene, who was with us every step of the way in the making of this album." Devil's Elbow is a remake of a Daniel Amos song. It has a rollicking rockabilly feel with jangly guitars. As usual, Taylor has written the bulk of the material (8 out of 11 songs) and it is lyrically masterful. The title track is reminiscient of his more recent solo work, replete with gorgeous harmonies. Daugherty and Hindalong wrote Whispering Memories, a heart-wrenching country ballad of bygone love. Matt Slocum's pedal steel guitar adds to the mood. One More Day, the lone Roe-penned song, is a prayer from a flawed individual for one more opportunity "to show someone the way." This should be an anthem/prayer for all of us. Slocum again works his steel magic to complete this country number. This Business Is Goin' Down is a jangler that describes love based on financial success. I hope we who live from paycheck to paycheck will never experience this scenario. Hardening My Heart is a beautiful ballad of lost love, sung to perfection by Mike Roe. Only One Bum In Corona Del Mar shatters the melancholy mood. It's a shared narrative, humorous, Cowboy musical. "Is that Stacy Keach passed out on the beach? No, it's only our bum from Corona del Mar." Get Me Ready fires you up to take on whatever the future throws at you: terrorists, politicians, plague, war, natural disasters, the Rapture, the Judgement, .......Da Vinci......well, maybe not. This rocker not only pumps you up, but it's the most rockingest Dogs song since Sweet Work Of Love. The Choir boys wrote Burn It Up, dedicated to our beloved Doctor Love (Mike Roe). It's about Mike & Terry travelling to Nashville to record this album. Terry & Mike offer kudos to Red Dog and Indie Hindie on one verse. This one has the late nite chill vibe of The Choir's O How The Mighty Have Fallen. That's Where Jesus Is concludes the recording. In the vein of Breathe Deep and Pray Where You Are, this instant classic brings to mind that Jesus is in the lowliest and neediest among us

The Lost Cabin And The Mystery Trees is a well-produced professional musical endeavor by quality, veteran musicians, assisted by the studio talents of Tim Chandler and Matt Slocum. Lost Dogs are currently touring. Check out for tour dates & to purchase this enjoyable CD.