Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
I found these fellas because I was searching for new music to review. I came across their EP entitled Tres Grand Serpent released June 10, 2016. It is only two songs but I really liked what I heard, given the small sample size. Then, I hit the mother lode. I found their self-titled album that was released a year ago. I was speechless. I was alone when I heard this, but I was speechless nonetheless.
There are 12 tracks on this album and it is extremely difficult to pick out favorites. I could get lazy and write they are all great. That would solve my dilemma of trying to write about individual songs. The truth is, they are all great. However, I will do my best to pull out some of the tunes that I feel are more memorable than the rest. It will not be easy.
Let’s start with Simple And True (Track 10 ). This song is a relatively slow ballad. Not something I would normally be drawn to, but the lyrics and vocals are so powerful, I had no choice. I blame the song! The use of harmonica and pedal steel makes this song an instant classic. Time To Believe In (Track 8 ) is classic country down to the atmospheric guitar riffs, whistling, and vintage style vocals. Strong notes of Ghost Riders In The Sky (written by Stan Jones in 1948 ) with a bit of a slower tempo. The writing style of this tune would make you think that is much older than it actually is. Less Honkin’ More Tonkin’ (Track 4 ) is an up tempo rockabilly number. A real toe tapper and fits in nicely with all of the crooner type ballads. Fought The Blues And Won (Track 1 ) sounds like a mix between Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, and Professor Longhair. Maybe even a little bit of Lefty Frizzell. Those comparisons really don’t matter, I guess. This song stands firmly on its own merits. It does not need comparisons to music legends to give it support.
A total throwback to the early days of rock n roll and classic country. I don’t think to say this is unbelievable is an overstatement. It is melodic and well written which really harkens back to the days of Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. If I said this was released 50 years ago, you would have no reason not to believe me. The only tip off that it wasn’t is the modern production and clean, crisp sound. But the music will take you back in time. This is not just a throwback album, it actually fits perfectly in today’s musical climate. They took the freshest raw ingredients from days gone by and created their own masterpiece. I did say masterpiece, and I mean it.
To those who think that country music is dead, this will prove you DEAD wrong. I am not sure how they captured that nostalgic sound with today’s methods of recording, but they did it. The overarching point here is that you have a limited window of opportunity before these guys are well known. If you like seeing live music in small venues, act fast. This could be your last chance to see these boys in a non-arena setting. It is hard to get a flavor of how good these fellas are from reading a review, so I urge you to listen to and buy this album. There is a song on this album called The Real Deal. They did not write this about themselves, but that is what they are. They ARE the real deal. “Come on guys, it’s so simple! Maybe you need a refresher course!” If you do, this is a good place to start.