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'Red Mouth' Gebhardt - Blues $1.49 lb (Independent)
Reviewed by Ricardo, Oct 2005
adhering to bluesey, country, folky, forms but happy to accept (actively
embrace) a loose interpretation of the detail, this is
not an album for purists of any stripe but a joyfully chaotic reworking
of the common sources.
Eric's from Florence, Alabama and describes what he does as 'southern
based music'. His set 'usually consists of house rockin'
delta blues with a number of broken-hearted, drunken country love
ballads and even some deep south gospel tunes from time to time...'
The overall sound is enjoyably raggedy. Think Lou Reed and Raindogs
era Waits fighting in a border bar with 80's country-rockers Green
on Red. Meanwhile tex-mex indie darlings Calexico are arguing with
Terry Allen about which ZZ Top tracks to play on the jukebox. Only
bluesier, and with more banjo.
The playing is sound throughout - Eric's chops, on guitar, banjo,
lap steel, etc. are diverse, perverse, rich and soulful. This is
made clear with the great slide part on 'Sad Songs', but he's not
afraid of the 'rubbish' guitar solo either - magnificent on 'Bring
it on Down' (hats off too, for the wonky drumming there). Brian
Ferris ads some more outstanding guitar on a couple of tracks -
the echoey 'billy twang of 'Put Your Foot Down' and and lazy waltz
of 'The Day I Quit Trying'.
(On the subject of waltzes, Eric obviously failed to heed Willie Nelson's warning in 'Sad Songs & Waltzes' - "aren't selling this
year"... There are several on this CD, none of them especially
cheery, but they're among the best. Well done for keeping the waltz
spirit alive! Leadbelly will be pleased.)
There are some good songs too - 'Forget About You', 'Olgita', 'Don't
Shoot The Moon' and 'The Day I quit Trying' all manage to avoid
cliche while tapping right into the vein. The small combo numbers
seem to fit the material more comfortably than the bar rockers,
but I suspect that, live, the bar rockers would er... rock.
If you like your blues with a bit of a diverse mix you're going
to like this. It's a great blend of rootsy americana styles pulled
together without pandering to 'authenticity', and played with a
wit and verve that honour it's antecedents whilst managing a contemporary
freshness. One of the albums of the year round at my house.