Mother Merey and the Black Dirt do everything right on their new album Down To The River. They are a boot stomper on the porch kind of band and that fact is clear from the first notes. They haven’t made a record that will appeal to the masses, probably because they’ve left spaces between the notes, they haven’t filled each song with over-instrumentation or a lot of flash, but what they’ve made is awesome.
Mother Merey and the Black Dirt are a three-piece band from Texas but it feels like their music is rooted in the long gone sounds of states east of Texas. I loved this record the first time I heard it and when I contacted the band to find out songwriting information I was shocked to learn that only two of the songs the record aren’t originals. Mother Merey and the Black Dirt have their songwriting chops as honed in as they have their playing. Washboard, dobro and harmonica is what you’re listening to here and what’s really great is that none of the three instruments are overbearing.
There’s a fine line between shtick and authenticity with music like this and, of course, the difference is completely up to the listener. And let me make this clear: I find no shtick here, the whoops and catcalls fit and there’s no “hey look at us. We’re playing old-timey music, look how cool we are” anywhere on Down The River. I hope you enjoy this record as much as I do.