Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Ghosts of Hallelujah
Genres: Country, Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
With their fourth release, the Gourds claim their ground even more definitively, running accordion-carried melodies up against acoustic guitar, mandolin, and bass rhythms that merge with pelted drums. They keep a keen bala... more »
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With their fourth release, the Gourds claim their ground even more definitively, running accordion-carried melodies up against acoustic guitar, mandolin, and bass rhythms that merge with pelted drums. They keep a keen balance between vocals, with Jimmy Smith's slurry delivery recalling the twists that Shane MacGowan unleashed with the Pogues so many years ago. But just as Smith runs roughshod over humorously told tales, guitarist Kevin Russell stands up for the merits of twangy, countrified narratives--some recalling the Texas tales he spun so winningly on 1998's Stadium Blitzer. Adding swerves to the band's loose, unaffected delivery on Ghosts is fiddler Max Johnston, who's backed uncategorizables like Freakwater and Wilco. And while the Gourds don't fit in any derivation of honky-tonk or alt country (consider their ace Snoop Doggy Dogg cover on Gogitchyershinebox), they're unabashed about performing their tunes with utmost conviction. --Andrew Bartlett
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Another Solid Album, but Not Their Best
T. OConnor | St. Paul, MN USA | 04/13/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Gourds have always been very very quirky (to use the term "real" critics like to use). What else can you call a country band that on occasion covers Snoop Doggy Dogg? Their previous albums have been examples in how odd lyrics and somewhat disturbingly sparse arrangments (usually built around accordian/mandolin/guitar) can work to make powerfully beautiful music.This album departs from that form, albeit barely in that the music surrounding the lyrics (that will make you smile or shake your head, depending on your inclination) is a tad more mainstream alt-country.Perhaps that is due to their growing fan base within the music community and getting people like Max Johnston to play with them. In any case, I kind of miss the stripped down sound of their album "dem's good beeble" or the flat-out weirdness on "Stadium Blitzer".This is still a great album, and it may be the best for those uninitiated in Gourd-dom. The elements, lyrically, are all there--the curious interest in hip-hop culture ("Gangsta Lean"), the songs that refuse to make any real sense, and yet still make some kind of sense ("Fine Leather Truck"), and the occasional song about the rough life ("(the new way of) Grievin' & Smokin')". Basically, I would recommend this album to anyone who enjoys Son Volt but wishes they would get goofy every once in awhile. The Gourds can do that, and play every bit as beautifully, when called upon, as Jay Farrar and his bunch of fellas."
The band of the century
T. OConnor | 09/01/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Every year, the Gourds release a CD that I think will be impossible to top. And every year, I'm proved wrong by their latest release. "Ghosts of Hallelujah" is by far the boys' best -- for the first time, they sound like a complete band, thanks to former Wilco multi-instrumentatlist Max Johnston. The two singers/songwriters complement each other beautifully. KP Russell lets loose on "Ghosts of Hallelujah," a complex ode to spirituality and faith, and "Gangsta Lean," an angry, biting look at gangsta rap. And Jimmy Smith is still his usual, unintelligible self, wailing to such tunes as "Up on High" (the operative word being, apparently, "high") and the most beautiful love song of the year, "Rugged Roses." The music is a blend of country, bluegrass and rock with some unlikely zydeco and folk influences. The vocal deliveries are earnest and evocative. And the lyrics -- well, don't spend too much time trying to figure out what the hell they're talking about. Buy this album. See them live. The Gourds are the best band around in the increasingly ephemeral No Depression movement."