Saturday, April 08, 2017

Chicken Snake - Tombstone'n'Bones

Alright, so I'll admit that I am a big music fan and that I love a wide variety of styles. I know that I often say that one band or another is one of my favorites, and that's true - I have a lot of faves in a lot of different genres and for a modern take on the blues, this combo is up there with the best.

Chicken Snake takes the blues and strips it down, twists it and mangles it with their own attitude, adds a bit of the Cramps, a bit of punk, a bit of plain ole rock'n'roll and creates the CS sound. With members hailing for such groups as Boss Hog, the Honeymoon Killers, Knoxville Girls and many, many more, they have the pedigree to go with the demeanor and they know what it takes to shake it on down.

Tombstone'n'Bones is their latest release and it is another masterful mix of voodoo'n'blues. The Teels - Jerry (guitar/vox/harp) and Pauline (vox, percussion, fiddle) - write most of the material and share vocals duties, often singing in a dark, moody harmony, backed by Josh Lee Hooker on second lead guitar and Jessica Melain on drums.

The opening "Muddy Water Mystery" is a perfect combination of the Cramps and the Gun Club that is followed by "Baby Stop" (a band collaboration), which is more of a minimalist 70's-styled insistently rockin' stomper. "Walkin' Blues" gives Jerry'n'Josh a chance to really intertwine their old school blues lines (and Jerry blows some mean harp, as well) while Jessica keeps a steady pace and Jerry'n'Pauline alternate the hoodoo lyrics to great effect. There's a bit more of the Cramps showing up in "Donna Lynn", but with some damn catchy melodies and crazed, Robert Quine-like cacophonous guitar solos. The big hollow-body guitars evoke the old-time blues recordings in "Black Crow Talkin' Blues", with their interweaving licks'n'chords, over which Jerry again injects some howlin' harp to give a huge sound in this nominal setting.

There's a head-boppin' beat to the infectious "Hot + Cold" (a cover from the Beasts of Bourbon's Spencer P. Jones) that continues into their own whoopin'n'gallopin' "Black Pony", where the boys insert some excellent guitar work and there's even some cool (and rare) bass fills, as well. I get a Stones-y vibe off of "Rich Man Blues" while "Lay It Down" lays down a more tribal beat by Jessica over which they weave a bluesy tapestry with staccato guitars and harmony vocals. The closing title track is a hypnotic, droning, slower number featuring Pauline's fiddle along with the interplay of guitars'n'harp for a blues version of the Velvet Underground!

The other two albums that I have by these cats'n'kittens are equally as good - as I said before, there ain't nothin' that I don't like about this combo! So, check 'em out - all records are available through their Facebook page - dig 'em!