At first listen, the opening song (“Maud Only Knows”) on Side Affects’ Between the Stones album seems to be a play on words and a joke. “Maud” rhymes with “God”, and the similarly named Maude was a TV character from a show that was also called Maude. Why do things happen the way they do? Maude only knows, right? No, wrong. Maud was actually Elizabeth Reed’s daughter, and Reed was made famous in an old The Allman Brothers Band song. Ralph Roddenbery, Scott Mecredy and Michael Hurwitz, the Side Affects’ three primary songwriters, learned about Maud Reed’s existence after visiting Duane and Barry Allmans’ graves, which were located not that far from Reed’s in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Georgia. There may be a strong connection between Side Affects and the Allman Brothers because of this song, along with the band’s name, which is taken from a line in “Maud Only Knows”. However, the Side Affects sound is very different from the music The Allman Brothers Band makes. The Allman Brothers Band is famous for rollicking Southern rock, which is noteworthy for the style’s dueling electric guitar passages. In contrast, Side Affects plays a gentler brand of folk and bluegrass. Instead of stinging guitar leads, played through Marshall amps, Side Affects color songs with shimmering mandolin lines and other acoustic instrumentation. The Grateful Dead comes to mind far more often than The Allman Brothers Band while listening to Side Affects. The Grateful Dead probably sounded like a few old men playing music long before they were actually old men. Although Side Affects likely aren’t old men yet, they sure sound like a few old men, picking and singing around a campfire. The Grateful Dead also owes a grateful debt to the pioneers of bluegrass. Even though you may not hear a whole lot of bluegrass influence on The Grateful Dead’s music, it certainly showed up on the band members’ side projects and solo albums. Similarly, Side Affects dearly love bluegrass music. This collection of 12 songs offers a sober perspective on life. “Little Nuggets”, for instance, speaks of the sort of the wise sayings that are passed down from generation to generation. “She Can” takes time to show appreciation to a mother and a wife. Then again, there are songs on this album that are just plain silly. “Something’s Gonna Get Ya”, for example, speculates on just might happen if somebody had a close UFO encounter, among many other possible life ending scenarios. But the ultimate message of the song is not to worry about how death will show up at your door; instead, its message is to enjoy life while you’re living it, and not to worry. Side Affects write songs one can relate to and play them well. Between the Stones is akin to musical comfort food. There is warmth in the musicianship, and empathetic words in the songs. This partnership may have begun as the writing collaboration of Ralph Roddenbery, Scott Mecredy and Michael Hurwitz, but it sure sounds like that has turned into an honest to goodness band. And such are the Side Affects of meaningful musical collaborations.” - Dan MacIntosh

Indie Music Reviewer