Th' Legendary Shack Shakers - Agridustrial
If America is a country noted for its divides, from R'n'B and emo Goths in its cities to bluegrass country in its interior then Th' Legendary Shack Shakers enter the fray with their latest album in a committed venture to stir things up. Blending country and blues together with alt rock and punk sensibilities they have produced some awefully powerful moonshine in what's now a six album career.
Already a firebrand presence on the live circuit they have recruited guitarist Duane Denison (Jesus Lizard, Tomahawk) and drummer Brett Whitacre for this album. Lead singer J.D. Wilkes has been described as “the last great Rock and Roll frontman” by Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) and lauded by the likes of Hank Williams III and Robert Plant. Considering their debauched live reputation this album comes across more restrained and measured. This isn't to say that every song doesn't come across like a steam train blasting its way through Southern Americana, however. It has a southern gothic charm, fully aware of the darkness out there and manages to echo past troubles amongst the current tough times.
Often songs come to life out of dissonant industrial tones before a country blues structure takes hold. In 'Hoboes are My Heroes' Wilkes expresses reverence for men he met whilst riding trains across the country. They're emblematic of the people who appear in these songs, people at the fringes of our society and history but with stories that need telling and remembering. Adhering to standards is not in their playbook. There's a sense of reinvention in these songs, something you can feel that the band is yearning for in their region, their America.
Legendary? Perhaps not - but still defiantly shakin'.