Saturday, January 18, 2014

CD Review: Girls Guns and Glory - Good Luck

This week I was able to catch up with an old friend, Chris Hersch, who I originally met when he was the banjoist for Oneside. When that band met their fatal end, he was acquired on waivers by Ward Hayden, who along with Paul Dilley (bass) and Josh Kiggans (perccussions) comprise the roots rock-country band Girls Guns and Glory. They tour constantly and fortunately the band route several times into the Washington D.C. area - this time at Georgetown's Gypsy Sally's. On any given evening you are bound to hear a range of music from Hank Williams or Chuck Berry to original songs that play tribute to country music's past - no contemporary Nashville pop here. I'm definitely a homey, but Chris plays a wicked guitar and Ward possesses a vocal style that matches that old time country sound. And these were all on display at Gypsy Sally's; who would have thought this sound came from a group of guys from Boston.

As a bonus, after the show Ward treated me to a copy of the band's latest release Good Luck, which I have listened to continually over the last two days.  The CD contains almost all original material reflecting a more rockin' side - perhaps due to producer Eric “Roscoe” Ambel - who has also produced albums for Steve Earle and The Bottle Rockets. The first track, All the Way Up To Heaven, is a perfect example of this new sound - very tight, sharp vocals, and a unique mixture of rock and country. Be Your Man picks up the pace with some serious guitar; then some are pure fun (Shake Like Jello, Built for Speed), whereas others are serious ballads (One of These Days, Centralia, PA).  The later I remember hearing live and pays tribute to Chris and Paul's home state of eastern Pennsylvania and the abandoned coal mining town.The last three tracks are my favorites, the cover Rockin' Chair Money, UUU, and It's Your Choice - particularly this last song. Each are completely different but all integrate a tight sound and chemistry that the band seems to have developed over the past few years. Can't wait for their next stop to DC, until then Lucky Star remains in the CD cycle. Pair with Boston's Bully Boy Distillery. Cheers.

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