New West Records
It’s a rare thing to encounter a record that on first listen becomes one of your favorites, but the self-titled debut from the New Orleans “country soul” band The Deslondes is damn sure one of ’em. The record starts with “Fought The Blues and Won”, with vocalist Riley Downing sounding as if his singing was done in 1950s, and not in some cheap throw back style either- these guys have internalized most everything good about southern music- the high lonesome sound of bluegrass and Hank Williams, that particular shuffle of New Orleans, and the plaintive, simple songcraft of heroes Guy Clark or Townes Van Zandt, and have crafted a winner of an album from it.
The band’s other lead singer and songwriter, Sam Doores is up next with “Those Were (Could’ve Been) The Days”, a nifty rockabillyish tune that sounds as natural as can be. They step inside a juk- joint for the giddy “Less Honkin’ More Tonkin'”, with some sweet fiddle from John James Tourville. “Time to Believe In” reminds you a bit of a two-step Sons of the Pioneers, again not because they thought it was cute, but because the song required it. This is a band that knows from whence they came, and where to take it.
The record ends with the Tom Waits-influenced “Out On The Rise” with Doores casting his mournful voice down the road, looking for better days, and perhaps a better man than he’s been so far. It’s a sublime, moving moment that seals The Deslondes as my record of the year, easily. The Delsondes are creaky, majestic, hopeful and downtrodden, all at once. Lawdy they’re good.