500 Miles to Memphis
Blessed Be The Damned
Insurgent Country-Punk For Doc Marten Wearing Cowboys.
500 Miles to Memphis are one of those bands whose name I instantly recognised, then my mind went blanks….. nothing…..absolutely nothing. Not a note appears in any of my collections.
Formed in 2003 they appear to have had several incarnations following drink and drugs shenanigans while also evolving from the Cincinnati Punk scene and incorporating a bit of Kick-Ass Insurgent Outlaw Country into their music…… which all brings us around to this; their 5th album.
So, it was with more than a bit of interest I slid the CD into the car stereo.
Opening track, The River starts with a rousing A’ Capella chorus before launching head first into what I can only describe as Cow Punk Deluxe with industrial strength powerhouse support from the bass and drums! Not what I was expecting at all….. but very welcome at 5.30 am none the less!
As the album progresses there’s an awful lot going on, from the punchy Delta Country of Bonnie and Piggie Boy, which had me trying and failing miserably to sing along twice at least.
The band’s Punk background is never too far away; although this will always sit more comfortably in the Country racks of your local record store; with songs like I Said Babe and What a Waste both having the ability to scare the bejasus out of anyone wearing a Trucker cap and Wranglers.
As an album, this hasn’t been the ‘easiest of listens’ for me; as I’ve had to judge my mood accordingly…….. this is as ‘angry’ as music gets at RMHQ but the 99mph Hold on Tight and In My Chest, while polar opposites in ‘style’ are destined to get even a Methodist Church gathering pogoing as if their lives depend on it.
Don’t get me wrong, everything here has a melody and a chorus; these songs are very well constructed and are fun, fun, fun in one way or another…….. Save Me starts with a Church organ, which carries on through a cacophony of Country-Punk on amphetamines ….. and I did manage to shout along with this chorus.
Obviously nothing here is destined for Radioland……. but two songs have already been co-opted onto a Playlist for a holiday car journey that’s planned for March; the awesome title track Blessed Be The Damned and the coolest song here; and one that could almost be called a ballad….. I’m a Bastard; which takes the accolade of RMHQ Favourite Song.
Where do 500 Miles To Memphis fit in on the music scene?
They don’t! It’s as simple as that. In my collection they will sit alongside Jason & The Scorchers, everything on Bloodshot Records and a band I’d actually forgot about until last week…….The Real McKenzies; another band whose attitude is “‘this us, this is what we do….. you can take us or leaves us…. we don’t care.”
Released 25th January 2019