The new album from musician James Leg, also known as one half of the rowdy blues/punk/soul hybrid Black Diamond Heavies, could pass as the soundtrack to some sort of immoral revivalist service. His second solo record, Below the Belt is built around Leg’s thick keyboard sound, driving drums and his wildly charismatic and gruff vocal performance. The album veers from sonic punishment (the good kind) to a few more reined-in tracks, like “Disappearing,” “October 3,” and especially the ambitious closer, “What More.” So even if you’re not the rambunctious type, there’s plenty to check out. – Chris Steffen
Pacific Surf Line is a sunny, breezy debut from the group GospelbeacH. The band’s members have been part of Beachwood Sparks, Further, The Tyde, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Ryan Adams & The Cardinals and Everest, among others. With the buoyant, country-influenced sound of Beachwood Sparks in mind, these musicians clearly clicked in the studio, as you’ll hear in the two songs featured here.
There’s a place where dirty blues, soul and gospel intersect that many aim for but few get near. That James Leg lands in the middle drop-zone with the precision of a BASE jumper on a million dollar bet says you most of what you need to know about his latest solo record.
James Leg – aka John Wesley Myers of the Black Diamond Heavies and The Immortal Lee County Killers – is the bona fide son of a preacher man from Port Arthur, Texas. Armed with a baritone that could knock down a brick wall from 20 paces and a Fender Rhodes, he’s unleashing his third solo album (the last with label mates Left Lane Cruiser in tow.) It’s in similar vein to what’s gone before, but this time with a touch more variety.
Leg draws on a diverse group of collaborators to mix it up, delving into jellyroll piano belters (“Drink It Away”), gospel rock (“Up Above My Head”, “What More”) and brutal blues stomping (The Dirtbombs’ “Can’t Stop Thinking About It”.) There are no power ballads here. READ THE ENTIRE REVIEW ON THE I-94 SITE
Elwood’s Blues Breaker: Left Lane Cruiser “Elephant Stomp”
on 26 August, 2015 at 10:51
Left Lane Cruiser began life about as basic as a band can get – guitar and drums. They emerged from Fort Wayne, Indiana, but you can sure hear North Mississippi, ZZ Top, Howlin’ Wolf, and more in their hardcore, stoned hillbilly, frenzied sound. The man behind the raw sound is guitar player and yowler, Frederick Joe Evans IV. He has burned through a couple drummers now, and added a bass player, who also plays an electrified skateboard. Listen and let your jaw drop accordingly. This is Left Lane Cruiser. A gentle little ballad called “Elephant Stomp.”
Music fans will know James Leg for his work with the Black Diamond Heavies, but he’s also carved out a nice side solo career. His dirty keys and trademark gruffy howl have made him a favorite with the rough-and-tumble type and with good reason. Recently, Leg announced his plans to release his second proper solo album this year, and today, we’re excited to premiere the video for Leg’s cover of Bob Reuter’s “Dirty South.” The menacing track is as haunting as it is strangely soothing.
“‘Dirty South’ was written by my dear friend and hero, Bob Reuter of St Louis, Missouri,” Leg says. “I reckon it’s a song about what goes through a man’s mind at 5 in the morning when he can’t sleep and is layin in his own sweat.”
All hail the Reverend.
Let us consider the time-honoured gravel-throated rasp. Since being defined by Beefheart and Tom Waits, the ravaged buffalo scrotum holler has long been the refuge of those lacking singing chops or much personality.
James Leg is the latest wracked carrier of the ruined distillery gargle and, from his first emission over the rusty chain boogie of Dirty South, is the real deal, backing up his roaring swagger with an innate grasp of life-soiled rudiments.
Leg is John Wesley Myers of the Black Diamond Heavies, son of a Texas preacher and staunch convert from that old-time religion to the eternal good-time diet which laces his missives with knowing poke, along with his rich Fender Rhodes.
His follow-up to 2011’s Solitary Pleasure cuts anyone on the gutter-pointed boogie but can also turn Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s Up Above My Head into a robe-swinging riot. He even manages to ram the Dirtbombs’ Can’t Stop Thinking About It through the barroom window and make The Cure’s A Forest his own.
What More ends the album with a soulful ballad, bolstered by female chorale. It’s a direction he should pursue on his next album, which I hope won’t be too long, as this is a rare raw delight.
— SPIN (@SPINmagazine) August 12, 2015
GospelbeacH Return to the Shore for ‘Mick Jones’ Single
As a founding member of Beachwood Sparks, Brent Rademaker built a castle of sand out of gently twanging guitar lines and jaunty basswork and from the looks of things he’s returning to those warm shores for his new band GospelbeacH. Along with singer/guitarists Neal Casal and Jason Soda, bassist Kip Boardman and drummer Tom Sanford, Rademaker’s again making a sleepy (stoned?) version of folk-rock structures that’s somewhere between kaleidoscopic alt-country and the times when the Grateful Dead decided to color within the lines. MORE ON THE SPIN SITE