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Irish Release June 2nd, 2006 on Cooking Vinyl

“Well the first dance cost me a quarter and the second dance cost me my heart.
Now I'm here on this bar stool 'n like a circle it ends where it starts
And it goes something like this.
Always a swing and a miss

“Well I ain't seen you so I drank all night
now my eyes are black cause I fought all night
I come stumblin home to sleep alone and it's alright, yeah it's alright
and it's hard to tell what it is and what its not
until it is something you ain't got”

The lyrics to “Something You Ain’t Got,” open Cracker’s new Cooking Vinyl release Greenland and, with them, quickly sets a very different tone for the usually self mocking, irreverent band. Cracker’s Greenland is far from a promised land of green and plenty.

“That song was like a punch in the stomach,” Cracker’s lead singer/songwriter David Lowery explains after hearing it played for the first time. “It didn’t matter that I’d hadn’t written the song, it was just the way the album needed to begin. The record tells a story and each song ended up exactly where it needed to be on the record.” Greenland begins with a bottle of scotch and ends with the bitter dregs of wine.

Greenland was one of the most difficult albums to write for Cracker singer/songwriter and co-founder, David Lowery. In the studio, his core band surrounded Lowery: Johnny Hickman on guitar, vocals, co-writer/co-founder; Frank Funaro on drums and Kenny Margolis on keyboards and accordian. Lowery sang lead vocals and played guitar, keys and bass. Also joining them in the recording process was David Immergluck from the Counting Crows as well as Mark Linkous from Sparklehorse and John Morand, among other guest players and musician friends of the band.

A palpable sense of darkness amongst seemingly carefree environs permeates Greenland. Lowery takes the listener on a ride across vast spaces, from an autumnal high school dance to standing alone on a mountain top in “I’m So Glad She Ain’t Never Coming Back.” We find him sitting in a Mendicino County bar where “…I saw Thomas Pynchon at the end of the bar, no that’s just Rob Brezny writing his ‘Free Will Astrology’ column,” and then evoking his inner Hemingway with images of Spain and the African sea, drinking wine and pondering forgotten loves in “Sidi Ifni”. “…we drank wine and toasted to the day when she was the queen before the long decay, we drank wine slept off hangovers lethargy decay and forgotten loves.”

Still, Lowery has not lost his humour. On “I Need Better Friends” he sings “I was drinking jasmine tea when the goon squad came for me, it was all my drunken friends, they kicked down my front door again. “ But, even in the humour, the foreboding undertone is hard to miss. Greenland speaks of times of great turbulence, destruction and change, of losing and finding oneself again, perhaps in a most unexpected place. This time, Lowery is the lone man at the end of the bar.

“This album is the most personal and is the most directly about my life, my own experiences, and those around me,” he shares. “I found myself asking whether I wanted to continue to be a musician and keep writing songs. Those questions were answered by writing this record.”

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  Cracker may be considered a somewhat traditional rock band (almost comparable to roots rock at times), yet singer/guitarist David Lowery's roots were anything but traditional since he fronted the '80s alternative outfit Camper Van Beethoven. Shortly after Camper Van Beethoven called it quits in 1990, Lowery began demoing material along with guitarist Johnny Hickman and bassist Davey Faragher, eventually going by the name Cracker (several of these early demos would eventually surface under the title of David Lowery Demo Mixes).

By 1991, the newly formed band had signed a recording contract with Virgin and enlisted the help of several drummers/percussionists (Jim Keltner, Rick Jaeger, and Phil Jones), issuing their self-titled debut in 1992. A year later, Cracker issued their best-known album, Kerosene Hat, which spawned the popular MTV/rock radio hit "Low."

But by the time of their third release, 1996's The Golden Age, Faragher had been replaced with Bob Rupe, while the drum spot was occupied by a trio of players: Charlie Quintana, Eddie Bayers, and Johnny Hott. After the album's supporting tour wrapped up, Lowery briefly concentrated on projects outside the band, producing such artists as Joan Osborne, Lauren Hoffman, Magnet, Fighting Gravity, and Sparklehorse (all at his Sound of Music recording studio in Richmond, VA), and co-producing the Counting Crows along with former Camper Van Beethoven producer Dennis Herring. Lowery also found the time to co-star in director Eric Drilling's independent film River Red (also composing the film's score) and appeared in another film, director Matt Leutwyler's This Space Between Us.

By the end of the decade, Cracker seemed to have settled on a somewhat permanent lineup as drummer Frank Funaro and keyboardist/accordion player Kenny Margolis joined up with Lowery, Hickman, and Rupe, issuing 1998's Gentleman's Blues. During the early 21st century, Cracker continued to tour and even enlisted the help of several of Lowery's former Camper Van Beethoven members on select dates (bassist Victor Krummenacher, guitarist/violinist Jonathan Segel, and guitarist Greg Lisher). They issued a live set in 2001, Traveling Apothecary Show & Revue, while a year later, Cracker issued their fifth studio album overall, Forever. Forever completed the bands slow progression back to the eclecticism of Lowery's former group CVB.

In 2003 the band released its 6th studio album Countrysides. As the title would suggest this record was a exploration of the bands country roots. Of note this record was the result of the band playing redneck and biker bars under the psuedonymn "Ironic Mullet". This Enhanced disc also contains a short documentary on the making of this record. The group has also been the subject of a pair of compilations over the years: 1994's The Virgin Years (credited to Camper Van Beethoven/Cracker) and 2000's double-disc Garage d'Or. Lowery is currently touring North America and Europe in support of the new Camper Van Beethoven CD "New Roman Times". But Cracker is still active and continues to play shows and record.
The band recently began work on a new batch of songs, to be released in early 2006.

Musicians Cracker:
David Lowery - guitar, vox
John Hickman - lead guitar, vox
Kenny Margolis - keys, percussion, accordion
Frank Funaro - drums
Victor Krummenacher - bass, vox

Musicians Camper Van Beethoven:
David Lowery - guitar, vox
Victor Krummenacher - bass, vox
Jonathan Segel - guitar, violin, etc
Greg Lisher - lead guitar
Kenny Margolis - keys, percussion, accordion
Frank Funaro - drums
Cracker will be releasing their sixth studio album later this year. More details to follow …

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