Reviews

Help Wanted Nights

Author: Tuget Nguyen
A taste of The Good Life

Ryan Fox doesn't have a home. The multi-instrumentalist for The Good Life is on the road so much that when he does end up back in his hometwon of Omaha, Neb., has has neither a job nor a place to live.

"I stay with friends or stay with my parents or stay at the studio," he said. "I've only been in Omaha probably fewer than two months this year."

Fox is kept busy, not just with The Good Life, but with various other musical projects, including Saddle Creek label-mate Rilo Kiley, although he is not the only one moonlighting in the band. Vocalist/guitarist Tim Kasher is probably most known for his work in the cello-laced indie rock of Cursive; bassist Staphanie Drootin has some Bright eyes credits; and drummer Roger Lewis can be found working with Inner Circle and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

Yet, even with the constant moving and shaking within the band, The Good Life isn't meant as a supergroup side project. The four juggle schedules and make an effort to get together.

"It's sort of like it's Good Life season again," Fox said. "We try to figure it out and play to people again and tour."

Last summer, the group decide to put out an EP and a full-length. In December, they began recording and eventually ended up with the six-song disc Lovers Need Lawyers and the 12-song follow-up Album of the Year.

Both albums are a progression of the morose and mellow sound established by 2000's Novena on a Nocturn and 2002's Black Out.

Thematically, The Good Life touches on the awkward period of heartache and loneliness in the pre- and post break-up of a relationship.

Kasher's lyrics feel like a one-man conversation to the pigeons in the park the morning after an emotionally turbulent night. comparatively, the band's name seems more of a deliberate sarcastic claim than just a borrowing of Nebraska's state motto.

When it comes to Omaha, Fox speaks like a well-worn traveler who, despite a wanderlust, always knows how to get home.

"It's hot and humid and terrible in the summer," Fox said. "And cold and snowy and terrible in the winter. It's great in the spring and great in the fall. It's easy to live here. I think it's really comfortable."

The recent media spotlight on Omaha's music scene hasn't eschewed Fox's perception either.

"It's weird for me to have grown up here and to see everything sprout up and get the kind of national attention it has," he said. "It's still just Omaha to me."

Fox moved out of his hometown after 18 years to California for school. Unsure of what to do after graduation, he came back to Omaha where he, more or less, fell into a music career.

"I spun my wheels for a year and started playingwith The Good Life," he said. "And I thought, well, I'm not doing anything else. I like this band, I like playing music and it's just sort of become my lifestyle."

And though things have worked out so far, Fox admits it was never something that he had planned.

"It wasn't some dream I had when I was four years old that I'm finally fulfilling," he said. "It was just something I took an interest in and kept working on."
Help Wanted Nights

Help Wanted Nights

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Help Wanted Nights

Help Wanted Nights

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