So. Apparently we're sponsored by LL Bean. Ugh. 'Spect some of the longtime readers here have been waiting for me to weigh in. Won't go on a rant...but suffice to say Harry McClintock's version of "Big Rock Candy Mountain", from which we took our name, probably was not written in the spirit of selling trendy outdoors clothing for well-to-do, white weekend warriors. It's a hobo song, fer chrissakes! Well, this is our world now, I guess. I'll be quiet about the issue now. But, I'm just sayin'...
Now that that's done, we wanna revisit one of our favorite local bands, who have a new EP out that's pretty fuckin' amazing.
Last year we covered a record by The Black Oil Brothers. Here's what we said then:
"The Black Oil Brothers create an amalgam of Country and Blues not beholden to contemporary "alt" whatever, forging their sound from a deeper well, stripping away the trappings of contemporary naval-gazing to find a purer sound. Strapped to the concrete acreage of the big, big city, the Black Oil Brothers find the wide open spaces of beyond, and the smallness of life lived in overgrown yards and back porches lit by fireflies. Regret and bad choices made in the midnight hour, then. The kind of Country Blues record we love so dearly."
We didn't focus enough, of course, on the Delta Blues aspect of their sound, and with their new EP, American Honey, featuring the astonishing vocals of Bethany Saint-Smith (or here), The Black Oil Brothers tromp and stomp further into the muddied bottom, sinking their acoustic strum'n'snake oil holler into a midnight last call desperation, dancing loose-stringed and meditative with sex and whiskey running slow and fast, the final nod, the heavy lean, the sweep-me-off my feet, I'm lighter than air and these planked floorboards can't keep me steady.
While the Black Oil Brothers (Tony, Tony, and Timmy) do that voodoo that they do (and it is a hypnotic voodoo)...this new EP introduces a new element in one Ms. Bethany Saint-Smith. I'm gonna let one of the Tony's (Manno) tell you how this came to be:
"We met Bethany when we went to NYC for a string of shows a few years back. She was running sound at Niagara, a bar in the Lower East Side, that we played the first night out there. She took to us immediately, and literally called a bunch of friends while we were playing and packed the place halfway through our set. We became fast friends and her and her gang followed us around to our other shows that weekend. We ended up jamming at one of the shows, and realized that she has one HELL of a voice pretty quickly. So we kept chatting and chatting, and finally she flew out here last year and we fired through a bunch of tunes in my apartment over a weekend of doing nothing but smoking and drinking a lot of Jack Daniels and Wild Turkey American Honey (hence the name). We got around to fixing up the tunes, adding some percussion, and decided to put it out. Bethany has a band out in NYC called Bethany Saint-Smith &the Gun Show, and she also sings for a Rockabilly band called (shit, I forget the name at the moment-she just joined). She's a firecracker of a chick, and has become a close friend of mine. We went out there to play with her last December and did a few of these songs, and that solidified our relationship. "
He's right. Saint-Smith has got a voice equal parts straight-no-chaser whiskey and straw-dry huskiness, low-murmured and deep, deep soulful, the voice of yr loss and the consequences of yr bad strayin' self. She's got you in the wee small hours. Of the night, and of your slow sun risin' morning regret.
Together, the Black Oil Brothers and Bethany Saint-Smith create a burning ember of a torched rickety shack, hard stomped, dusty caked, risin' flooded porch Blues.
This record is easily gonna be in our top records of the year. Pretty high up, actually.
You can grab the new EP for free right here. But there is an option to send them a little cash. Wouldn't hurt, really, would it?
From the new EP, American Honey:
Bethany Saint-Smith and The Black Oil Brothers: Hold The Knife (mp3)
From the previous Black Oil Brothers record, Long Way From The Delta:
Black Oil Brothers: Wednesday Afternoon (mp3)
Black Oil Brothers: Robert From Hibbing (mp3)
As ever, please support yr local, independent...whatever. True small businesses could use yr support these days.