So I’m listening to the Gourds new CD “Haymaker” this week.
This isn’t so much an indepth review of the CD (alright then – here’s the review: It’s good. Go buy it. You don’t really need me to tell you that, do you?) as it is a discussion of dem Gourds and how they make people happy.
You know how I know that? I listen to their stuff. I make my friends listen to their stuff. I make my kids listen to their stuff until they know all the lyrics. It’s good for their vocabularies. Even my cat likes to twist and juke to the Gourds. . .
If you like the Gourds just okay and don’t know what all the fuss is about – go see them. No one I know who has gone to see The Gourds has come away less than amazed. I’m going to see them (again) this weekend down in Denver. I’ll stand down as close to the front as I can and I’ll be shocked if I don’t laugh the whole evening. And I bet I’ll see a lot of the same faces that I’ve seen the other six of seven times I’ve been lucky enough to get to a show. One time I saw John Hickenlooper right down there in front, dancing and singing along. More proof that he’s the coolest mayor ever.
There’s a lot to those Gourd boys. First of all, you’ve got the three really strong singer songwriters. Yeah, Max (Johnston) maybe isn’t quite as prolific as Kev (Russell) or Jimmy (Smith) but his songs are among the best the Gourds have to offer. Which is saying a lot.
Then you’ve got those interesting blends of musical styles, folk, rock, bluegrass, Cajun, even a little fun. It’s all in there and it all works together.
And there are the lyrics. Half the time no one can figure out what they mean but you come away with bits and pieces that paint pictures in your mind. Lots of time they’re funny pictures and they’re always interesting.
I like it when Max plays the fiddle. A lot. He plays a lot of other instruments too. In fact, he plays most of them. I’m not going to list who all plays what but the list of instruments is pretty impressive. Accordion, piano, organ, acoustic guitar, banjo, the afore-mentioned fiddle, lap steel, resonator slide, mandolin, drums, harmonica, electric guitar, bass, and someone barks like a dog somewhere in there. I particularly enjoyed that. And they all help with the singing. Plus they are all somewhat silly. . .
Once again, regarding Haymaker: It’s good. Go buy it. And get Noble Creatures if you missed it. That was one of the best ones yet. Also, I can’t really say that Heavy Ornamentals was anything to sneeze at. So I won’t.
P.S. Can’t resist this. Favorite songs on Haymaker include “Bridgett” – a song by Jimmy about a surly hitchhiker, “Shreveport,” “Tighter,” and “Tex-Mex Mile.” But my favorites are known to change.