Big Legal Mess Records
A Soul-Stirring Americana Gumbo.
A couple of weeks ago my friend Richard Leader played something, I can’t remember what on his radio show Leader’s Americana Pie; and someone commented how ‘leftfield’ it was…… oh how I chuckled.
You want leftfield? I’ll give you a whole shelf load of leftfield if you think you can handle it….. let’s start with the latest release from famed Producer, singer-songwriter and bandleader with 14 of his own previous records already under his belt, Mr. James H Mathus aka Jimbo Mathus.
I will tell you how good opening track You Are Like a Song is.
Last Sunday I was sitting engrossed as I edited some photos when Mrs. Magpie walked in on me; scowled and muttered “What the Hell is this?”
HA! Well, the song itself isn’t actually easy to describe as it’s a conglomeration of rinky-dinky piano inside a Gospel song from the backwoods of Kentucky …… think Dr. John’s orphaned younger brother?
The title track Incinerator follows and is even weirder (albeit in a good way!) and thankfully the lyrics are wisely not included; as they are a bit bonkers….. but hey; who cares? It’s a mind-blowing three and a half minutes and that’s all that matters.
Mathus and producer Matt Patton (from the Drive By Truckers) go on to challenge the listener in every which way; with tracks that could be film scores (Really Hurt Someone and Never Know Till It’s Gone spring to mind); and I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised if either or both were to turn up in some windswept Scandi-Noir thriller sometime soon.
Personally I love the way Mathus throws little musical hand-grenades around left , right and centre not caring what collateral damage they do to the listeners senses and sensibilities. The spine chilling Country song South of Laredo is immediatly followed by the luscious and multi-layered Been Unravelling then the whole house will shake on the Voodoo rallying cry of Alligator Fish; which will make Tom Waits and Jay Hawkins fans giddily excited.
There’s a duet of sorts here too, with Lily Hiatt sharing harmonies and a verse on Sunken Road which is probably as cool a slice of Americana Music as you’ll hear this year…… I promise.
Where the Hell to go for a Favourite Song? Should I just close my eyes and stick a pin in? Nope….. I’m going for two songs of polar opposites; which is what this glorious musical gumbo is all about anyways…… so the delightful Country & Western Swing of Give Me The Roses ties with the sombre and unsettling Incinerator which I mentioned earlier; but it could have been anything really; because if you get through to the end track …. you ‘get it’ and you ‘get’ Jimbo Mathus; not everyone will.
Released 5th April 2019