Brother Dege – How to Kill a Horse (album review)
Brother Dege, aka. Dege Leg recorded his tenth album, How to Kill a Horse, in an empty warehouse in Lafayette, LA. As you listen to the ten song collection you begin to smell the smoky residue, taste the grit and feel the hot wind that blows through the broken windows as you are transported to the lonely locale that inspired these artful tomes and desperate dirges. Dege delivers each with a gravelly everyman voice that is only remarkable in its presence of authentic pain and suffering as he strains to release each phrase. His primary vehicle is the Dobro resonator guitar that he uses masterfully to evoke a heart wrenching wail throughout the melancholy songs. Accompanying his guitars with only sparse boot stomping percussion, organ and bass, Dege leaves plenty of space for each note to ring out, thus sculpting the sonic with a wide rich palate of sound. The opening track “The Black Sea,” thunders in with a swamp grass ramble and a chorus inviting us to “get set free,” that builds to a crashing crescendo. Dege then mixes Delta slide and a modern drum loop with great effect for the introspective blues, “The Darker Side of Me.” The title track feels like a lost Civil War hymn from Stephen Foster that Dege has unearthed and brought begrudgingly to the light of modern day. It is easy to see why Quentin Tarantino chose one of Dege’s tunes for the Django Unchained soundtrack when you hear the ominous “Judgment Day,” and the expansive instrumental track “O dark 30,” that could also easily be placed in films. Dege gets quite authentic with the solo back porch stomp “Poor Momma Child,” and tribal for the howling “Wehyah.” Pausing then to give us some comic relief with the jaunty ramble “Crazy MotherF**ker,” before we go too far down the rabbit hole. You will swear you have heard the exotic mournful tones of “The Last Man out of Babylon,” as the backing track to some action movie somewhere. Many more film makers will no doubt be tagging Brother Dege to license his music, as each of his songs so vividly paint a picture in the listener’s mind’s eye.
rick j bowen