This one I’ve been waiting for since 2014: Devil In The Yard, the follow-up to Achilles Wheel’s fantastic CD Stones To Sand. Achilles Wheel can legitimately boast a handful of Northern California’s best players, and between the songwriting chops of Paul Kamm, Shelby Snow and Jonny “Mojo” Flores and the excellence of their delivery, Achilles Wheel has once again shown that they’re as good in the studio as they are live.
I gave up trying to single out particular songs as standouts on my second listen, because the 13-song list plays more like a beautifully crafted set. There are no weak tunes on Devil In The Yard, and no filler. The CD is a corker, edge to edge, covering the spectrum of exuberance to regret.
I’ve seen these guys play live in various forms ranging from a tiny bar to the 360-seat Sweetwater Music Hall. I’ve seen them as an acoustic trio and I’ve seen them full band. There’s no form in which the core members of Achilles Wheel don’t deliver, and there are no amateurs in this band. Whether Flores, Kamm and Snow are offering up an hour of Grateful Dead covers by way of two Martin acoustics and Snow’s head-turning six-string bass or a “plug it in and watch the people dance” full band electric set, this band will take you with them. If these guys are playing anywhere I can reasonably get to, I go. They are simply not to be missed.
Devil In The Yard is available at Achilleswheel.com, CD Baby, and at all of their live shows.