Hayseed Dixie - Killer Grass
It’s hard to believe that these rocking rednecks have made it to album number eight without being thrown in the county slammer. But here they are with a CD/DVD package featuring seven of their own compositions and six rockgrass re-interpretations of other artist’s works. Over the years the ratio of self-penned material has increased to eclipse the covers and it makes sense that the band will be keen to put some of own songs out there. But what brought them to the barndance was their hilarious-hellraisin’-hillbilly takes on the rock and roll classics.
This album exposes the huge gulf between the quality of their covers and their own songs. Tracks about alien rectal probes might cause a snigger, but when positioned alongside tracks by Queen, Black Sabbath and The Who you’d have to have drunk a lot of moonshine not to notice a difference. What does work well is when they move away from the traditional rock back catalogue and cover something a little different. On Killer Grass they take on Mozart and The Prodigy’s ‘Omen’ - with some success. There’s an initial smirk of humour as everything kicks in but there is no denying that they possess enough musically knowhow to go beyond the easy yucks.
The DVD features a number of music videos, instructional short films and WAV format samples so you can remix to your heart's desire. The music videos might raise a smirk, but they have extremely low production values and all utilise the same pieces of stock footage. The instructional videos are deeply unfunny – this is a band that should keep their comedy within their music and not let it spill out into embarrassing ‘skits’ such as these. The WAV files are a nice idea - but don’t expect YouTube to be swamped with bluegrass remixes in the next few weeks.
As a package it proves to be one step too far from their roots. Where they progress into covers outside of their normal remit it all works very well but their original material falls short of the mark. The DVD also offers some novelty but little replay value.