Wanna know what it’s like growing up in the South? Just ask Porter and The Pollies.
Imagine a dim lit bar. Old, smoky, windowless, a jukebox in the corner, a real one; not one of these touch screen, we take debit cards contraptions, the ones you can barely read the names on the album. The beer is cold and cheap and the patrons are like an extended family. This is the kind of setting my mind takes me to when I listen to this album. It’s a hell-raisin’, foot-stompin’, alcohol-fueled southern anthem, of sorts, from a long haired country boy from Alabama. These tracks are raw, rough, fuzzy, live, and genius; it’s filthy. Whoever’s idea it was, or lack of motivation to do it “properly” is an intelligent SOB (looking at you, TJ and Jay).
The gruff and gritty voice that bellows out of Chris Porter (Some Dark Holler, Back Row Baptists) supported by the distorted, buzzy, rock & roll sounds of The Pollies (Jay Burgess, Reed Watson, Daniel Stoddard and Chris James) have accomplished something that many can’t; successfully fusing country roots and rock & roll into something worth listening to again.
“I heard all of its quirks and twitches the first time I heard the mixes. I heard the quirks and twitches while we tracked it, and I love them,” says Porter. It’s an honest, rugged, heartfelt album that only gets better the more you listen.
(Could this album + Matt Woods‘ Deadman’s Blues bring country music back to it’s rightful place? I don’t know but it’s a damn fine place to start.)
Before I go further, let me say, it’s hard for me to even think of The Pollies as a backing band; they are a phenomenal band as well who I think will also do big things in 2014. They have all the ingredients to successfully become one of the south’s most popular bands and they deserve it. Daniel Stoddard is one of the best pedal steel players in the south; period. What else do you really expect though from a place that gave us Spooner Oldham? Stoddard is our generation’s Spooner; no question.
Oh yeah, the album. This album is honest, relatable, and perfectly descriptive of the southern culture that many of us grew-up in and some of us still live in today. I honestly can’t recommend it enough. There isn’t one song on this album that isn’t applicable to everyone in some way. “Pabst Blue Ribbon and ammunition, broken hearts and bad decisions, she don’t talk and I don’t listen much.” That’s the opening line to “Fourth of July”, the second track on the album, probably my favorite too. It really captures the culture of growing up in the south perfectly. I would know; born and raised in bamalama! I can keep trying to persuade you to listen to this album by throwing around song lyrics and imagery of life in the south but you honestly just need to hear it for yourself; it really is that good. The worst way to end 2013 is by not listening to this album. All the great things you’ve done and all the great music you’ve heard/seen this year will not be enough to help you cope with the self-inflicted pain of missing this southern masterpiece. So grab your favorite whiskey, get comfortable, and let Porter and the Pollies take you on a ride through southern,
blue-collar, America. “Because I don’t want my last words wasted on sad songs and air.”
Fourth of July
Wood and Steel
Rest These Bones*
When I Get Home
Blood on My Hands
*Helen Gassenheimer – on Fiddle/Vox