Well, let me paint you a picture from an ocean away. I’m soaking in the sounds of “You Don’t Know Me,” the latest album from Heavy Drunk, and it’s like the essence of the South is oozing out of every note. This record feels like the place itself – its stories, landscapes, history, culture, and, of course, its music – all distilled into sonic form. And it’s nothing short of remarkable.
Rob Robinson and his crew, with resumes that boast names like Elvis Presley, Prince, and Keb’ Mo’, have taken generous portions of deft Mississippi Delta blues, rousing rounds of gospel, sultry soul, and amped it all up with some muscular rock ‘n’ roll. It’s like a musical marriage made in the swamps of New Orleans – and that’s as good as it gets.
This album feels like a guided tour through the heart of the Delta, Louisiana, and the entire South. It kicks off with “Sippi Dupree,” a song that sounds like Robert Johnson got a modern-day ZZ Top makeover, who in turn were tapping into their inner Booker T. That’s not a bad way to start, folks. A sense of place is established almost straight away with the blare and beat of the New Orleans strolling band meets rock and roll of 47lb Rooster.
But it’s not just a one-trick pony, far from it. There is room for bluesy ballads in the form of Fault Line, Shout tips a hat to Jackie Wilson as he transitioned from rock ‘n’ roll to soul and The Kingdom’s The Power is a gloriously understated and poised gospel anthem.
This album has it all, seriously. Whatever flavour of classic Southern music you’re into, you’ll find it here. If you can’t scrape together enough change for a ticket to the South, at least you can afford “You Don’t Know Me.” Playing this album feels like the sonic equivalent of sipping on a Mint Julep.