Band of Storms Ridden by Jimbo Mathus
With Jimbo Mathus, expect the unexpected and expect to be entertained with music steeped deep in the roots of the soul of American music. Band of Storms is no different, Come On Ya’all opens the album with a smile as he sings Gringo Man. This is a rock n roll ditty that has a smile on its face and feet tapping ‘dance-with-me’ rhythms. Jimbo mixes it up like the weather one moment it is hot and swampy, then we have blues of very hue into the weather forecast of every type of musical storm we stir in gospel, honky-tonk and Mississippi Hill Country Vibe. His band of musicians have the same easy-going approach to music fired by the South it is music that has many names but above all rooted in the emotions, feelings and hurt of folk, connecting with us all who have experienced life.
The nine new tracks are all written by Jimbo with one exception the country tones of Play With Fire co-written with us his late friend Robert Earl Reed. Full of country twang, and vim as Jimbo uses a twangy piece of elastic to stretch the country feel into a free-form musical flow that curls around the vocals. The next two tracks are a complete contrast Stop Your Crying with its gentle acoustic opening, the beat picks up, the vocals slow the tempo down this is a folk poem that makes the hairs on your skin stand on end, the hurt and pain as he begs ‘stop your crying baby’. The voice rises full of emotional angst joined by backing singers and searing music. Do we have time after the emotional angst? No we do not. We are now in for a storming number, rock, punk craziness as Springsteen collides with the Rolling Stones we are in the eye of the storm full of Massive Confusion. This is a track the fuels the album with storming energy as the rawness exudes through the speaker you are driven along on a crest of a wave of musical pleasure.
We travel across the Atlantic and the English folk woven into the textural landscape of Wayward Wind; written in an English Pub while drinking rum it is a travelling, drinking pirate song. I wonder who the pirate is that joins him on the Wayward Wind of life’s chances and opportunities. (Could it be Ian Siegal? They have been known to travel together on the road as Wayward Sons shows) Slow thoughtful blues deep and grounded in the Cotton fields is Slow Down Sun the guitar growls and snarls with assertive power never aggressive but Blues that are modern and rooted deep in the past.
Closing the album we have a track that fits in perfectly but so dissimilar to the other seven tracks with Keep It Together, one-hundred percent Jimbo in its difference. Then too soon we are listening to the last track, Catahoula. An American dog breed named after Catahoula Parish, Louisiana is a slower wistful number full of guitar and percussion. The album is seven tracks full of warmth that reflect the changing moods of a storm and the ever evolving music form that is roots music.
The album cover designed by Erika Jane Amerika, is the perfect representation of Jimbo guitar in one hand and fiery bible in the other. The iconography within the portrait is a reflection of the eight tracks that Jimbo has described as bits and bobs I had around. With his Catahoula dog, alligator and Yemayá (the “great mother” of Santeria religion). The whole album is like going horse-back riding after a long time you just get used to the walking when you find yourself cantering then trotting, the music is like this it takes you on a ride full of joy, blind corners and textural interest. You are in for a windswept journey in the company of Jimbo Mathus with his Band of Storms.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD TEN doodle paws out of TEN ….
Jimbo Mathus – Band of Storms – Big Legal Mess Records, via Fat Possum Records
- Gringo Man
- Can’t Get Much Higher
- Play With Fire
- Stop Your Crying
- Massive Confusion
- Wayward Wind
- Slow Down Sun
- Keep It Together