Steven Casper & Cowboy Angst.
I Feel Like I’ve Got Snakes in My Head
Hemifran/Silent City Records.
Really Putting the Alternative Into Country Music.
While he personally loves (full) albums, Steven Clasper is well aware of the transience that recorded music has these days; so has chosen to record and release his music as 6 or 7 track EP’s primarily for sale at gigs; but as a reasonably priced way of getting his music heard around the world.
‘I Feel Like I’ve Got Snakes in My Head’ is his third recorded venture since 2012 and from the captivating artwork of the cover through all 7 songs has had me doing mental cartwheels for the last fortnight.
The mood is set with the instrumental opening track; the spooky Spaghetti Western themed For a Few Dollars Less. Based on the film of the same name; Clasper & Cowboy Angst add a frighteningly haunting pedal-steel to some whip sharp guitar playing and something called an ‘ocerina,’ for added weirdness.
Track #2, Driving Fast, is the first Truck Driving song I’ve heard this year and the world is a better place for it. A bit like Little Feet’s Willin’ on extra-strong pills, the chorus includes the the refrains ‘I Feel Like I’ve Got Snakes in My Head’ and ‘I have 14 pills and a bottle of red/and I’m going to make time/cos I know I’m feeling fine.’ Cool or what?
Restless Heart and She’s Bad are just the sort of Anti-Love song I adore; and both have choruses just crying out for a drunken sing-along on a Friday night in a bar or Juke Joint of your choice.
Maria, on the other hand is a right Royal mix of New York Rock and Roll and Border Tex-Mex ode to the girl he loves; but her father disapproves. A piano-accordion rips through the melody like a rusty stiletto; as Clasper sings as if his life depends on it. Perhaps it does; if her father gets hold of him.
Just when the party was getting revved up; Clasper slides in a darkly beautiful and tear-stained Country ballad with Slow Dancing; and it is definitely my favourite song here.
The EP closes with Driving Fast (4 A.M), a re-mixed and vastly slowed version; showcasing the story; and leaving me wanting more; a lot more in the same vein.
Steven Clasper travelled the world with his parents until he finally got to call America ‘home’ aged 16; and it’s that outsiders view and love of Country Music that makes these seven songs very special indeed.
Released Europe March 14th 2016
Released USA April 16th 2016