Thursday, February 26, 2009

Reviews:: Shotgun Jimmie - Still Jimmie

Still Jimmie is an appropriate name for the new album from Shotgun Jimmie (aka Jim Killpatrick). Not only does the title contain his name, which I find is always helpful, but it also serves as a little bit of re-assurance for folks who remember Jimmers from his last solo outing The Onlys, and might be a bit taken aback by his latest release.

The difference is apparent right from the get-go, if you have a listen to the lead-off hitters from both albums. Whereas The Onlys opened with Duet, one of the most fun and whimsical songs you could hope to discover on an indie rock record, Still Jimmie opens with the pounding drums and jangly guitars of the raucous Mind Crumb. The juxtaposition between the two albums is pretty apparent all the way through, because if you think back to The Onlys, there were songs were about cereal toppings and instrumental jams dedicated to skateboard tricks (Pop Shovit To Disaster). Things are a little more serious this time out, and Jim is contemplating things like the fact he lives so far away from his family or looking back longingly on his Yukon days. And when he added some guest female vocals to his own last time out, the result was the button-cute Bedhead. This time it's Quicksand, which features this catchy opener "Lately, I know I've been letting you down, and I feel like a dirtbag".

Ok, so I think I've successfully proven Shotgun Jimmie's last two album are different, yay for me! Luckily for you, I think I can discuss the reason for the change in a much more concise fashion. The Onlys was recorded amidst the pleasant summer breezes of Marshwinds farm, near Sackville New Brunswick. This new album was recorded at the home studio of Jim's new friends, Welland, Ont. indie rockers Attack In Black. Jim and AIB shared a national tour last year, and the latter also acted as Jim's backing band on occasion, and the good chemistry they enjoyed on stage led them to extend their working relationship to the studio.

I, for one, am pretty impressed with the results. The production on The Onlys was really well done when you consider Jimmie did pretty much everything on his own, but this time out things have been taken up a notch. Although you might not expect it, the full-band sound captured on a number of the songs on Still Jimmie is a perfect match for Jim's quirky and off-kilter delivery. Songs like Mind Crumb, Louis Depson, and Cost of Doing Business are big, loud, and are all the better for it (as an aside, I bet a bunch of the tunes on this record are going to be a be a blast to see done live). Even the re-worked, more guitar focused version of the Shotgun & Jaybird classic Province to Province seems to have benefited from some Welland woodshedding.

Fans of Jim's off-beat personality need not fear that he's made a generic rock record, as that personality still shines through over and over again. The bouncy Used Parts might be the best example of this, with Jim delivering lines like "good luck with building buildings for bored historians, or finding used parts, for your Delorean" with the utmost earnestness. Treadwater features Jim's take on the indie music scene, which is really quite honest and insightful: "in a vast ocean, of millions and billions of bands, so many of them, I worry that they might drown all the fans".

Still Jimmie is a great album, and if you aren't familar with Shotgun Jimmers, this is the perfect chance to find out what he`s all about. I can't think of anyone else like Jim out here in the Maritimes, his combination of quirky, but engaging personality and musical chops make him unique. Hopefully this album gives him the exposure he deserves. Jim's heading out on a US tour with Attack In Black next month, and that should certainly help in the exposure department.

Mar. 05 Buffalo, New York Sugar City Art Space
Mar. 06 Syracuse, New York The Spark Gallery
Mar. 07 Brooklyn, New York Retox 4pm**MATINEE
Mar. 08 Asbury Park, New Jersey Asbury Lanes
Mar. 09 Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Hard Bean
Mar. 10 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Circle of Hope
Mar. 11 Baltimore, Maryland Carm City Art Space
Mar. 12 Athens, Georgia Flicker Theatre
Mar. 13 Gainsville, Florida The Kickstand
Mar. 14 Brandon, Florida The Black Coffee Gallery
Mar. 15 Atlanta, Georgia WONDEROOT
Mar. 16 New Orleans, Louisiana Dragons Den
Mar. 23 Forth Worth, Texas Hemphill
Mar. 25 Louisville, Kentucky The Nunnery
Mar. 26 Bloomington, Indiana Gigantic
Mar. 27 Columbus, Ohio Skylab Gallery
Mar. 28 Grand Rapids, Michigan Division Ave Arts
Mar. 29 Pittsburg, Pennsylvania Arist Image Resourse

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