Fat Possum Records
Jimbo Mathus’ down South old-school country never feels old or overdone. He’s back with another collection of energetic songs about a lifestyle both your priest and your mother will disapprove of. There’s a Warren Zevon feel to “Shoot out the Lights”; here he rocks it with southern soul and that mantra of all things below the Bible Belt: “Well bless my soul and hush my mouth…” But as soon as we have worked that thought the perfunctory prayer and the even more authentic “Mama please forgive me…” carries us to the good stuff: whiskey and cocaine and a country beat. It’s easy to imaging one generation or another of Hank Williams vocalizing but here I prefer Mr. J.M.
“Old Earl” might be a ballad, it’s a story song about a man so lazy no one had the gumption to bury his bones and if he couldn’t be bothered to work why should we? Lastly I’ll mention the slow burning “Coyote”: dirge-like and sodden with depression, it builds slowly and menacingly to a pinnacle of ancient loneliness. There’s a standard 12 sides on this release, all sweet and ready for air play or enjoying while parked on an urban freeway behind a few thousand other wage earners destined to sit in front of laptops and write sales reports. Dark songs, bright songs; Mathus feels at home anywhere on the spectrum from yee-haw Saturday night to Sunday morning hung over in front of the church. He’s not here to rock out but gives us a lecture on life, and not one we ought to live.