Never has a an album full of references to drinking, smoking and fighting been this much fun. Meet Ol’ Savannah and their self-titled debut disc.
The album emanates a rough and raw country-rock sound that the band was definitely aiming for in this recording. The scratchy vocals of lead singer Speedy D. Clark (whose name just seems perfect for this kind of music) are complemented by the frequent use of accordion and banjo along with guitar.
Their lyrics and song themes also match well with their rough-and-tumble musical style. In album closer “Empty Room” for example, the heavy use of harmonica and electric guitar perfectly support Clark as he sings “I done drank so much whiskey/I staggered in my sleep.”
Or in “When the Trains Go By” Clark sings about how one makes a living next to the train tracks- “I just sing a little louder/strum a little harder/I’ve got to when the trains go by.”
“Milk Clow Blues” could be called a straight Americana song- it’s more or less about the song’s protagonist chasing “his Susan” all across the United States before heading to Sault Ste Marie and ending the song with an absolutely brilliant line about Canada.
The most poignant song is “Never Killed a Man” in which Clark sings “I killed a man but I never killed a man who didn’t need a killing.” The lyric and song title should speak for itself.
The band shows a little bit of a softer side on “I Will Roam” which gives off a more country-folk feel. The first minute or so is just accordion, banjo and harmonica. When Clark’s vocals kick in, they still sound somewhat gravelly as they do in the other songs but are somewhat cleaner. It makes the chorus, where he harmonizes with guitarist Bartleby J. Budde that much more powerful. Even the lyrics are for more pretty and filled with imagery.
Ol’ Savannah are a pretty new band and they’ve already found, as far as I’m concerned, their niche. This is some top-quality stuff and the band’s future music will probably be just as good if not better.
This album will be available on May 6th, 2011. You can catch the band’s CD release show on the same day at Montreal’s Divan Orange.
Top Tracks: “I Will Roam”; “Amen”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) +*swoop*