Not, perhaps, the most striking title of the year, but five years on from their debut, Black Crowes co-founder drummer Steve Gorman and singer/bassist Nick Govrick have assembled a new line up with Band of Heathens vocalist-multi-instrumentalist Ed Jurdi and, also adding her vocal power, saxophonist Amber Woodhouse along with contributions from, among others, Willie Nelson harp man Mickey Raphael and 400 Unit guitarist Sadler Vaden.
They're a funky bunch with a southern mix of bluesy and country roots tunes interspersed with some gospel and R&B, specialising in call and response and three part harmonies. All three sharing lead on the opening chugging riff-driven 'Don't Want To Bring You Down' which, given it features a writing credit by Joan Osborne may well be a hangover from the previous line-up, before the bass and organ driven funky groove of 'The Butcher's Daughter' takes hold.
The country sides arrives with weeping pedal steel on 'Strung Out on the Pain' but then they rearrange all the boxes with the eight-minute plus psychedelic funk of 'Born To Be Blue'. Indeed, they constantly switchback between styles and mood, 'Dandelion a swampy harmonica blowing blues with Woodhouse on lead, that heady bayou R&B taking a slow soulful shuffle through 'Long Lost Friend' and, opening with mandolin and acoustic guitar, 'Goddamn Hurricane' channels The Band in a song about the impacts of Katrina.
The stompy 'Low Down Country Song does what it says on the label with a Stonesy strut, 'Paving The Road' summons riffing southern rock thoughts of the Allmans and Skynyrd while the title track rolls out the piano for another blues rock veined dance groove, all adding up to a solid jamming bar band vibe that pushes no envelopes and holds no surprises, but, if you like your bourbon served with a side order of sweat, then bring your glass and fill up.
|Billy Price: Dog Eat Dog||Lizanne Knott: Bones And Gravity|
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