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.

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