Common Sense is the side project of Umphrey's McGee keyboardist Joel Cummins. He is accompanied on nearly all of the mostly improvised tracks by Umphrey's McGee guitarist Jake Cinninger, who happens to be playing drums on this release. Other members of the band -- Andy Farag, Mike Mirro -- turn in appearances as well. The music, obviously, is keyboard-driven and alternates between styles. Songs like "Intellivince" and "Last Dance With the Paranormal" integrate electronic elements into their grooves, while tunes like "Leave It Alone" and "Summer in Sheboygan" feel like more straight-ahead jazz numbers. For the most part, the music has a sparse, unfilled-out quality to it. In places, Cummins makes this work to his advantage, either by reveling in minimalist spaces or allowing for overdubs. In other places, the music very much has a demo quality to it, sounding like rough sketches that might eventually be brought to fruition by a fuller band. For a side-project disc, though (which usually tend toward the personal), there aren't too many locked-in idiosyncrasies. Cummins' inner world seems a right understandable one.
Doc Hopper always had a lot of potential with their upbeat pop-punk, lyrical inspiring of puppy love and gruff vocals. Unfortunately, the end results have always fallen flat as the lack of energy and fact that this sound has been overdone since the Mr. T Experience debut in 1985. As in the case of Zigs, Yawns and Zags, the lack of any melodic undertones helps the band live up to their album titles.
For Lonesome Bedroom Blues, Curtis Jones performed solo and at the top of his powers on piano and vocally, on a set produced by Bob Koester. The pianist was an exceptional lyricist, evidenced by his classic "Tin Pan Alley" and several lesser-known numbers on this album.