Howlin’ out of Tyler, Texas like a Dixie bloodhound moaning at the moon comes Whiskey Myers’ latest, Early Morning Shakes. The band personifies the ultimate wheel-screechin’ Southern mishmash of achingly soulful drawl, some of the most tauntingly defiant redneck guitar tone this side of Gary Rossington, and naked, introspective songwriting. It’s music for Friday nights around a fire pit illuminated by pickup truck headlights, yet still sensitive enough to hit that slushy sweet spot in the pit of your soul just right.
The band tows the line through Van Zant family-inspired outlaw rock (“Hard Row to Hoe”), pedal steel-slapped melodic country syrup (“Shelter From The Rain”), and foot-stomping arena-ready anthems (“Where The Sun Don’t Shine”). There’s a mountain-hollered intensity that rages within the dark and unsettled penance of “Lightning,” where vocalist Cody Cannon bristles with the most genuine and heart-wrenching Southern sass you’ll find in 2014 Americana. It’s so real that it’s painful.
Elsewhere, “Wild Baby Shake Me” is contemporary country done right with the proper amount smudge that most Stetson-hatted Top 40 darlings lack, while “Colloquy” possesses an acoustic beauty proving these backwoods boys bleed when pierced – these guys know their heritage, and wear it on their sleeve.
Throwing a little extra mesquite onto a dimming Nashville flame, Whiskey Myers is the cure for that sluggish country hangover.
– Mark Uricheck