South Side of the Moonby Gideon Smith & The Dixie Damned
On paper, the saga of Gideon Smith & the Dixie Damned is exceedingly complicated, due to a large and very fluid lineup of supporting musicians, multiple sessions at two separate studios in Michigan and North Carolina, and lengthy spells between albums amid relentless touring east of the Mississippi. But, conversely, his musical story is actually quite simple once the needle hits the groove on 2008's South Side of the Moon, and a psychotic spin on heavy Southern rock interspersed with introspective slow blues (and bearing minor psychedelic nuances) begins to issue forth -- much as it did on the Dixie Damned's debut almost seven years earlier. Still, one gets the funny feeling that Mr. Smith almost had to be dragged into the studio by his many associates, among whom former Big Chief guitarist Phil Durr plays the leading role, having co-written 11 of these 13 songs as well as performed on all of them, naturally. Together with the aforementioned host of contributing musicians (even his record label boss joined in!), Durr orchestrates a series of tightly wound hard rockers such as "Save a Dollar for the Dead," "Devil's Night," and "Indian Larry," which features stellar wah-wah solos courtesy of Novadriver acid guitar demigod Billy Reedy. But the majority of the remaining material -- in particular, drunken ballad "Daughter of the Moon" and stumbling shuffles like "Blacklight Wizard Poster" and "Magic Queen" -- could be succinctly summarized as loose...exceedingly loose, bordering on sloppy, were it not evident that this vibe is very much intentional (or so one would think). Ultimately, the music's off-the-cuff aesthetic is also suitably complementary to Gideon's own love-it-or-hate-it vocal style, reminiscent of "the Satanic Elvis", Glenn Danzig, after a battery of shock treatments. And why not? Said style works just swimmingly on "My Darling Black Rose," with its ominous melodies and lysergic grooves; "Black Cat Radio," which offers a heavier interpretation of the Cramps' monster movie rockabilly; and "Shimmering Rain," which sounds like an inbred offspring of the Doors' "Riders on the Storm." All this, needless to say, can be a little confusing lest you buy into the decidedly twisted Gideon Smith program (which may or may not include coming to the party drunk...you be the judge), but why the hell not, if the beer on tap is cold and the barman keeps 'em comin'. Giddy-up!
- Release Date:
- Small Stone Records
Performance CreditsGideon Smith & The Dixie Damned Primary Artist
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