Has it really been five years since Dixie Witch's third album, Smoke and Mirrors, whupped a donkey's ass with an electrifying jolt of down-and-dirty, heavy Southern rock? Where the hell has the time gone? Well, wherever it went, it was put to very good use by the hard-living and hard-touring power trio, 'cause their fourth trip into the studio, 2011's Let It Roll, took them to a whole new level of power and maturity. That's right, Dixie Witch really are all "growned" up now, but they're hardly sailing topographic oceans; they're just going about their blue-collar business with much more confidence and guile than ever before. Perhaps the 2009 addition of new guitarist Joshua "JT" Todd Smith had something to do with this turn of events, given the mostly killer, no-filler songwriting on hand, but singing drummer Trinidad Leal also clearly stepped up his game, his soulful howls commanding center stage with authority. Hear him growl his best on the title cut, "Sevens," "Second Chance," and others, then lay back when it suits the likes of "Boogie Man" and "Saving Grace," but it's the overall sonic variety that will likely turn the most heads. "Red Song" and "December" may be two of the band's most viciously memorable statements ever; "Anthem" sees them knocking back shots at the intersection between Grand Funk and Monster Magnet; and both the laid-back "The High Deal" and "Automatic Lady" mine classic Southern rock vibes reminiscent of Blackfoot. Ultimately, it seems Dixie Witch have finally mastered the art of bridging ancient classic rock influences with present-day vitality for maximum results, achieving a level of roughshod rocking, barroom brawling, beer-swigging, bottle-breaking-over-skull accomplishment with Let It Roll that most pundits honestly never saw in them. Good on them.
|Label:||Small Stone Records|