It might seem like a contradiction when someone describes Moses Guest as the quintessential all-American Gen-X jam band. Jam bands, after all, were a product of the baby boom generation; Gen-X is supposed to be synonymous with alternative rock, hip-hop, and techno, not Jerry Garcia and the heyday of Haight-Ashbury. But Moses Guest are, in fact, one of the Gen-X bands that has proudly carried on the Grateful Dead/New Riders of the Purple Sage/Kingfish tradition in a post-Garcia world. They have done it with total sincerity rather than irony, and that approach continues to work well for them on Best Laid Plans. With this 2007 release, the Texas-based outfit serves up yet another dose of congenial, good-natured country-fried roots rock and maintains its loyalty to a time when the Grateful Dead, the New Riders, the Allman Brothers, and the Band were writing the book on the jam band aesthetic. Stylistically, this disc worships the '60s and '70s rather than the '90s or 2000s, and the members of Moses Guest wouldn't have it any other way. One of the things that jam bands do, of course, is jam; Moses Guest are no exception, which is why some of the songs on Best Laid Plans last nine or ten minutes. But while the album's longer tracks might scare away those who have painfully short attention spans, the bottom line is that, ultimately, Best Laid Plans is about songcraft -- and jamming is never seen as a substitute for good, quality songwriting. For Moses Guest, the jams are in service of the songs -- not the other way around. Best Laid Plans doesn't pretend to be cutting edge, but those who have enjoyed Moses Guest's previous releases will find it to be a worthwhile addition to their catalog.
Best Laid Plans Review
by Alex Henderson