Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
Oh boy! This Nashville band kicks major ass. They look like they are straight out of the mid 70s and sound more akin to the late 60s, early 70s British blues rock with a little garage thrown in. These guys are fantastic and play a brand of rock and roll that never goes out of style. The Rolling Stones became legends playing this type of noisy, irreverent music from 1968 through 1972. The Blackfoot Gypsies are carrying on that proud tradition, except over here in the states. And in 2017, not 1972. Any fan of Exile era Stones will absolutely love To The Top. Time will tell if it have the longevity of Exile, but it sounds pretty damn good right now.
The band began in 2010 when Oregon native, guitarist and singer Matthew Paige moved to Nashville and hooked up with drummer Zach Murphy. They spent the next two years building a reputation through raucous live performances and two self-released EPs and their first LP. After three years, they were ready to expand their sound.
They soon completed their expanded line-up when bass player Dylan Whitlow and harmonica master extraordinaire Ollie Dogg joined the group. Whitlow had crossed paths with Paige and Murphy before, but Nashville native Ollie Dogg was new to the rock and roll scene. He was a longtime veteran of Nashville’s blues community and joining a band full time was a new experience. Together all four gentleman add their own flair to make some something greater than the sum of its parts.
Even though the album is dominated by the hard blues based rock and roll, there is at least one exception to the rule. Back To New Orleans (Track 6) is pure French Quarter/Cajun goodness. This song is straight out of Bourbon Street and dancing to this tune is not even an option. Once you listen, you will be unable to stop your body from contorting and moving in rhythmic harmony with the music. I defy anyone so sit still while listening to this.
If you like Bob Dylan’s country phase, you will love Woman Woman (Track 10) which sounds like The Man In Me off of Bob Dylan’s 1970 album New Morning. This song reminds me of The Big Lebowski, I don’t know why. All that notwithstanding, this is a great song. It has some serious country elements and some great jamming rootsy guitar solos which are tremendous.
Those that would protest the resurgence of this 70s rock and roll, I say hush up! This music is timeless and gussied up some in the 40 years since its infancy. Give this one a serious shot and don’t forget to thank me.