One man. Scraggly hair. An old guitar that barely stays in tune. Goggles on his head. Another man behind a drum set made of brake drums, 5 gallon buckets, cracked cymbals and a washboard hanging from his neck. See them separately and you’re forming your “I can’t give you any money” excuse. See them together and you’re looking for the hat to drop your hard earned money into as your ass tries to shakes itself free of you.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Portland, Oregon’s own Hillstomp.
Hillstomp is Deep Blues Boogie Woogie Band. They remind me of a more lighthearted version of Shake Hands With Shorty-era North Mississippi Allstars, back before the Dickinson boys started taking themselves too seriously. The blues is a genre that’s as much about celebration and release as it is about wallow and despair, and Hillstomp makes you wanna dance.
While Darker The Night doesn’t have quite the same jukejoint at 3:00 am feel as their previous releases, it’s definitely a must hear for fans of the Deep Blues Sound.
Hillstomp – Banjo Song #1
Hillstomp – Cardiac Arrest In D
Hillstomp – You Got To Move
Hillstomp’s Official Site, Hillstomp on myspace, Buy Darker The Night
This is Michael’s third album w/o his former Portland, Oregon bandmates, I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House. His first cd, A Perfect Day For A Funeral, was a toned down exceptionally personal affair, while his second, Bad Days Ahead, was more of a midway point between ICLASOB and A Perfect Day For A Funeral. The two left me wondering where Michael was gonna go with his solo career.
Lucky for me the answer was a descent back to the calmer, quieter, more introspective, personal version of Michael Dean Damron, and the result is a total home run. The problems with the equalization/mix that seemed to plague Bad Days Ahead are gone and the biting songwriting is back, giving us a beautiful blend of country, folk, blues, and rock music that highlights the more emotional side of Damron.
Among the 14 tracks there is a cover of 9b faves, Drag the River. A cover of the Thin Lizzy track “Dancing In The Moon Light” (also oft covered by Drag the River) is here, too, as well as Damron’s take on the Townes Van Zandt track “Waiting To Die”. Despite the well-rounded selection of covers, the real standouts on the album are Michael’s originals. Whether is be the sentimental title track “Fathers Day” or the get fucked attitude of “Boy With A Car”, Michael always seems to shine when he is blazing his own path. While some people seem to pine for the bombastic Southern-rock sounds of Mike’s former band, I find the solo Michael Dean Damron sound to be Essential Listening.
Michael Dean Damron – Boy With A Car
Michael Dean Damron – Waiting Around To Die
Michael Dean Damron – Dancin’ In The Moonlight
Michael Dean Damron’s Official Site, Michael Dean Damron on myspace, Buy Father’s Day