The Gourds – Old Mad Joy (2011)

Posted by on December 26, 2015as

The Gourds’ tenth studio album finds the Austin-based roots rockers not only changing labels, but relinquishing production duties and recording outside of their native Texas. Released on Vanguard, produced by Larry Campbell, and recorded at The Barn, Levon Helm’s timber-framed studio in upstate New York, Old Mad Joy dials up the electrical current, resulting in one of the group’s most idiosyncratic releases to date. The Gourds admiration for The Band has never been a secret, and it’s great to hear them stretch their Big Pink-informed muscles on tracks like “Drop What I’m Doing” and “Ink and Grief.” Kevin Russell, who sounds like he spent the year prior binging on early Curtis Mayfield and Otis Redding..

320 kbps | 115 MB | UL | TB

…offers up some real gems with the achingly gorgeous “Two Sparrows” and gospel-tinged opener “I Want It So Bad,” and Jimmy Smith, ever the missing link between visionary poet and amiable homeless guy, spends the majority of the record blasting out Who-inspired guitar licks over lyrics like “Trumped up non adhesive/fall down jeeze louisin’/Suzi Quatro flankin’ tres/Well that’s what’s down in my palais.” As with much of their late-career output, Old Mad Joy begs for a few spins before it reveals its charms, but year after year, The Gourds continue to serve up another collection of songs that feel like delicious, home-cooked meals, and fans continue to clean their plates, no matter how strange some of the side dishes are.

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