Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Album Review: The Traveler by Old Death Whisper

Sometimes I like to listen to breezy, feel good, party songs, The Traveler by Old Death Whisper is the exact opposite of that. The band has a dark, gritty, yet modern sound like Ralph Stanley singing lead for Zac Brown Band performing at a funeral. The first song, "Storm Rider" hits you with a grim, grinning ghosts chorus of "woaahh, ooah, ooah" before the verses even start. Then the album's lyrics begin with "You got me cussin' like a sailor..." Surely, this is not your typical Country album.
The Taveler, is a smokin' barrel, Outlaw Country, shock to the senses. The lead song "Storm Rider" sets the tone with it's haunting intro and lyrics. Singing, "Well my sails are full of anger, I've got some (gun) powder in my shoe, the band lets you know they've faced their share of raging storms - both without and within.  If you had any question about their attitude after the first song, "Wasteland" removes any shade of doubt. Singing, "I'll take you to the wasteland baby, I'll build you up just to tear you down," Old Death Whisper slings defiance and bad attitude. You get the feeling it's them against the world, and they like their odds. Luckily, they sling their attitude with a side of great, rhythmic music. Filled with uptempo minor chords and songs about guns, jails, and ghosts, The Traveler plays like the theme to a haunted hayride.
When the band does venture (slightly) away from themes of wastelands and stacked bones, they create some nice bluegrass/rockabilly sounds, especially on "Loaded," "Always A Stranger," "South County Blues," and "Pissed." Combining elements of Robert Earl Keen, Shooter Jennings, and Fifth On The Floor, the band plays some serious, hardcore Outlaw Country. With a name like Old Death Whisper, you wouldn't expect anything less.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Album Review: Goin' In Hot by Moot Davis

Moot Davis' new album is Goin' In Hot - literally. His Nashville studio burned to the ground just days after the final mixing was done. Luckily, engineer Joe McMahan was able to salvage the music from his melted and water logged computer. Lucky for us he did because this album smokes - literally!

The leadoff title song grabs you by the ear from the first notes. With a little more rock and roll influence than his first three albums, this song sounds a lot more like The Waco Brothers than Buck Owens - complete with a smokin' guitar solo in the middle. Moot keeps up the pace on "Food Stamps," with some nice steel guitar work to punctuate this rollicking, poor man blues. Moot gets further in touch with his rockin' side on "Midnight Train," "Ragman's Roll," and the Little Feat inspired, "Made For Blood."

But this album isn't all rock riffs and guitar solos. Nearly half the songs are more traditional Country Blues. Which is only fitting, because Moot recorded this collection in the aftermath of a broken long term relationship. In "Used to Call it Love," he sings, "Said she wanted a semiprecious stone set in a band of pure gold... But I soon found out that all she desired I could never come to acquire." Moot grapples with his loss in "Hurtin For Real," and "Wanna Go Back." And surprisingly, he even manages to combine his heartache with his rock and roll energy in "Love Hangover."

They say whatever doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. Moot Davis proves that by facing his two trials by fire and coming out stronger than ever. The result is an album that comes in hot and sizzles all the way through!