Gut Punching and Heart Shredding Canadiacana.
Levi Cuss? What a great name and thankfully the music here is just as good and indeed interesting.
I wasn’t quite prepared for Cuss’s smooth yet weather worn voice on opening track Red City River ; but it more than matches the Twangy guitar and desperately honest and raw lyrics of a modern folk tale.
The pedal-steel that opens and closes the ‘talking Blues’ Pills cuts through this sad story like a cut-throat razor; and couldn’t be any more fitting.
Legendary Canadian producer Steve Dawson has done an excellent job bringing out the pathos in songs like Tecumseh; a tale of redemption for a man who murdered a woman’s brother and Dark Horses; showcasing Cuss’s storytelling and voice while making the overall song very cinematic; which is quite some feat.
It appears Levi Cuss has had his ‘demons’ over the years; but haven’t all the great songwriters? Here he manages to turn some of those episodes into songs; with the dark and broody Saturday Night being a great example as is the Country Boogie of Bringing it Back……both being Country Outlaw songs for the Alt. Country generation.
But like all ‘bad boys’ there’s always a woman in his life that he can’t live without; and in this case it’s Grandma; and let’s just say that the Grandma in this song is quite some lady indeed!
I’m torn between the dark almost Tom Pettyesque Tongues and the late night Honk-Tonker Cut My Teeth as my favourite track; and after tossing a coin will go for the latter; mostly because it somehow encapsulates the spirit of the whole album in just under four and a half minutes. Searing guitar, a story from the mean streets of down-town and Levi Cuss pouring his heart and soul out.
I can’t forget Murder of Crows; a rattling good slice of Alt. Country which features some really mean Hammond organ too.
What’s not to like?
I’ve lost count of the times I’ve praised Canadian singer-songwriters and bands over the last ten years; but there really is something special in the water up there; giving us some of the most authentic Country and Americana that’s available today; and Levi Cuss is a talent that deserves to be heard around the globe.
UK Release March 10th 2017