“I must admit I was quite in the dark about the particulars of this band. Their music I do know: was nearly two years ago in an unguarded moment their “Live at The Saxon Pub” arrived in my mailbox and sat in my CD player of my car for weeks. Especially their cover of “To Love Somebody” by The BeeGees made a big impression, because of the roots treatment they made it their own, you totally do not expect that. That is also the reason I’ve add the youtube clip of their version of “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys within this review: it indicates that these gentlemen can compliment a well know song once in their hands. Incidentally, I hope they release it soon on board ….
That said, the band since the live album appear to have undergone a personnel change: guitarist Josh Zee is no longer and is replaced by Chris Beall. The other three, bassist-vocalist Lonnie Trevino Jr., drummer Phil Bass and guitarist Phil Hurley all are founding members. A overwhelmingly positive appearance at SXSW in 2014 led to interest from European record deal with the German label Blue Rose and this July they have released their second album on the label, the third as a band.
The ingredients remain relatively unchanged and can be summarized as “southern”. The foundation is True Americana, but you’ll also find the roots rock, the country, the gospel and the jam bands influence. Thirteen songs, a total of about 55 minutes, SAM serves up on this record and they start out strong with “A Year or December,” a Jayhawks-like song, that immediately feels like they almost call “all in” throw all the cards on the table: a sober but solid rhythm section, ripping guitars, beautiful polyphonic vocals and above all good song. With “Movin ‘On” we are in the street where bands like Buffalo Springfield and Poco were active, and on through the soul/blues of “I’ll Be Coming Home” we go to the swampy “(Lyin’ On The Bottom) Mississippi River “. Right off the bat you have all four subgenres and you know exactly what will advance the album: country rock with “You, Love and Me” -with echoes of The Eagles-, one like “She’s So Far Away”, to the “Kiko” time Los Lobos recalling “Looking for a Lover,” a heartbreaking ballad (“Final Line” and the equally slow “Hold on.” The album concludes with “Jesus (Make Up My Dyin ‘Bed) ” with almost seven minutes long this sweltering southern version falls perfectly in line with Blind Willie Johnson and thousands of others who have covered it, and temporary period in stark contrast with the sixty-eight seconds of the instrumental” Ghost of a Small Town” to end the album.
Something tells me that this band, in the festival season of 2017, will descend upon the Benelux region nicely, and I do not mind: this album is very GOOD and the live predecessor had been great hope associated with the an appearance in Europe and the infectiousness of a live appearance by these Austinites.”