Southern Hospitality’s Easy Livin’ CD Review
This may be the ultimate southern rock band, a mix of Marshal Tucker and Allmans with a dash of Paul Thorn and a splatter of Little Feat. Damon Fowler sets the tone on the opener, “Southern Livin,’” with his laid back southern drawl, talking bout “Ah’m gonna wawk down to da waw-tuh in mah birfday suit an jump rite in da creek.” Nobody’s gonna be messin’ with him out here he says, and he’s right about that. With Fowler, fellow guitarist J.P. Soars and pianist Victor Wainwright onboard, there ain’t no room or need for anybody else in the mix. Tab Benoit produced the session and collaborated on two of the tunes.
This thing is slipperier than a vat of bacon grease, with Damon and Fowler taking turns raking their respective fretboards in the Duane Allman/ Ry Cooder persuasion. “Long Way Home” pays homage to Duane’s early work, with Wainwright rattling along like former Allman and current Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell. Fowler steps up again with the laconic rocker “Kind Lies and Whiskey,” his smoky vocal a blend of Tab Benoit and Paul Thorn. The trio delves into Western swing, Dan Hicks style, on “Mile After Mile.” Wainwright’s “Certified Lover” is deep soul like Toussiant McCall.
“Fried Neck Bones and Home Fries” is the only entry that seems a bit out of place here. Santana’s done the definitive version and while SOHO’s version has trimmed off much of the percussion, other than that it’s still pretty much a carbon copy of Santans’ version of the Willie Bobo tune.
The band goes a bit further south for Fowler’s reggae inflected “Don’t Feel Like Going There Today,” its Marley lope overlaid with some twisted, wiggly guitar work by Soars and Fowler, backed by some itchy organ from Wainwright.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNsG16ITYYc&feature=youtu.be
Soars’ “Come Back Home” is a rollicking throwback that sounds like it tinkled out of Jerry’s Lee’s keyboard in the ‘50s, as does “Don’t Boogie Woogie,” a rip-snortin’ boogie that Lewis recorded in ‘76 in the style of “Whole Lotta Shaking Goin’ On.”
Fowler’s ‘Sky Is What I Breathe” is a lonesome slider blending Van Morrison style lyrics, with family style harmony wrapped around Soars dobro.
Great debut on Blind Pig from what we hope will become a supergroup with staying power, resurrecting southern rock for a new generation and energizing the old.
By Grant Britt