By Rhetta Akamatsu
Grayson Capps is certainly the epitome of Americana, shuffling influences effortlessly. You can hear a bit of Buffet, more than a little Hank Williams. some Southern rock, a bit of gospel, all boiled down to something rare and original by Capps’; way with words. His imagery is so vivid that just a few words can open whole vistas in your mind, just like the”Scarlett Roses” of the title song, the emblems of love and loss.
Capps includes in his band for this album his wife, Trina Shoemaker, and long-time collaborator Corky Hughes. Hughes and Capps play guitar together well, while Shoemaker provides harmony and percussion. Together, the three share production credit. The other members of the band are Rufus Ducote on bass guitar, and Hammond bass pedals, and Russ Broussard on drums and washboard. Dylan LeBlanc adds harmony vocals on “New Again.”
After “Scarlett Roses,” “Hold Me, Darlin'” is a jaunty honky-tonk song with the insouciance of the country singers of the mid-20th century.” It is followed by “Bag of Weed,’ with its vivid rural imagery and its depiction of a sort of Southern dream-quest with beer and weed and a night in the woods.
“You Can’t Turn Around” has a sound similar to The Squirrel Nut Zippers, with that same sly delivery. It also features some hot guitar and effective washboard. “Thankful” is a soft Southern rock song about being grateful for what you have, whatever it may be.
” New Again” has a lovely gospel-inspired chorus and sing-song verses that are perfect fits for this rumination on what it means to be spiritual and open to change but “not in any Christian sense.” Then comes the jagged fuzzy slide that introduces “Hit ‘Em Up Julie,” a pelting boogie,
Once you hear “Taos,” you may feel stunned, at least the first time. This is noir at its most compelling, with its tragic tale of a man who fell asleep at the wheel trying to drive through the night to Taos, with horrifying consequences. The howling, moaning guitars and persistent drumbeat emphasize the drama of the tale.
Everything finishes with “Movin’ On,” a soft ballad with great harmonies about being on the road.
Engrossing, at times disturbing, always changing, this album is extraordinary and definitely worth your attention.
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