Thursday, January 4, 2007

Reviews:: Black Diamond Heavies Every Damn Time

Wow. That’s really all I need to say about the Black Diamond Heavies. Well that and maybe chuck in three or four of those (!!!!) to get people really excited. Unfortunately, not too many people are into that rough, bluesy sound, especially when the band has no guitarist. In fact, on most tracks there’s nary an instrument other than a simple kit and a keyboard.

Still here? Sweet. Over the last year, the Black Diamond Heavies parted ways with their guitar player, but somehow managed to get even better. Using a Fender Rhodes and some head down, straight ahead drumming, the duo brings it in a way I’m used to hearing from the late, great RL Burnside or John Lee Hooker. It’s gritty. It’s raw. Most importantly, it makes you want to move (either in a sweaty, dance floor stomp or a religious sway). From the opening, spastic, lo-fi drum fill on Fever in my Blood, the music comes to life and when the keys join in you can’t escape it.

John Wesley Myers’ vocal range is pretty impressive. He can somehow keep up on the hard hitting numbers, delivering Tom Waits, gravely vocals while wailing on the keys (Leave it on the Road), or slow it down for gospel-esque, Ray Charles ballads (the soulful All to Hell is an excellent example). Nestled amongst the ramblings of saints and sinner, Myers put his mark on every song, and drummer Van Campbell makes sure he stays on the right path (whether that’s the path of righteousness or the road to ruin is yet to be determined and differs from song to song).

He manages to use his Fender Rhodes to express more pure emotion. With grainy funk chops (Signs), frantic pace (White Bitch) or smooth organ tones (like the huge solo on All to Hell or the testimonial nature of Stitched in Sin), his keys set the mood for the message.

The rawness of this record makes me not want to write about it. It’s the type of music you just have to listen to and absorb. This record pays homage to the South and the constant struggle between angels and demons. It’s staying out till the sun comes up on Saturday, but somehow still filing into church on Sunday morning.

MP3:: Might Be Right
MP3:: Fever in my Blood

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Posted at 2:35 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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