The Band Of Heathens
BOH Records, 2008
REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/26/2008
Given the name, I just had to review this CD.
That said, I'm really glad I did. Austin, Texas' The Band Of Heathens plays slap-yo-mama, hand-me-a-Pabst, neon jukebox music, and it's some damned fine stuff. Originally a side project for three singer-songwriters, BoH has evolved into a band with three lead singers, three guitarists, and three songwriters -- who happen to be the same three guys. Add in a killer bass player and drummer, and that's a whole lot of talent.
Having released two live recordings (including one recorded at the legendary Austin club Antone's), BoH has wrapped themselves around the studio album concept for the first time. And in the fine Texas tradition of musicians like Willie Nelson, they have created a CD of country-rock-blues-whatever-the-hell-else that, in two words, kicks ass.
Produced by longtime Texas musician Ray Wylie Hubbard, the sound on BoH is simple without being stripped down, sharp as a tack, and impeccably clear. The musicianship is astonishing; the trio of guitarists (Ed Jurdi, Gordy Quist, and Colin Brooks) are extremely talented, and the energy of the music comes in loud and clear.
Frankly, there isn't a bad -- or even mediocre -- song on BoH. BoH is eleven quick blasts of the Austin music scene -- the place where blues, country, rock, folk, indie rock, and alt-country go to get drunk, party down, and ignore musical cliches. Particular note, though, has to be paid to "Don't Call On Me," "Jackson Station," the Jeff Buckley-esque "Hallelujah," and my personal favorite, the four minutes and forty-three seconds of constant double entendres that is the magnificently raucous "Cornbread."
Fans of American roots music -- doesn't matter what the particular flavor is -- really need to check out The Band Of Heathens. It's worth your while; this is easily one of the best CDs of 2008. To paraphrase "Cornbread," "Sometimes the songs are catchy, but catchy's good in my book, I believe I'll have some more..."