Last month Evan Phillips from The Whipsaws reached out to me about a local (to him) musician he’d been working with that he thought I’d like.

That musician was Matthew Dean Herman, and Evan was right. Matthew emailed me soon thereafter, and after exchanging a few niceties a copy of his debut cd was Florida bound.

The day that Blackbird arrived I had to take a trip out to my parents house, which is a 40 minute drive, so I decided to take that chance to give the cd a listen. It’s now two weeks later and the cd has not come out of the stereo.  I’ve been avoiding writing about the cd since that inevitably means I have to take it out of the cd player to rip it, but other albums are in need of being listened to, so here we are…

I really don’t know too much about Matthew Dean Herman and there is little to be found about him on the internets. He’s an musician from Anchorage, Alaska who also plays with The Jack River Kings (or MDH has morphed into The Jack River Kings…I can’t really tell). Judging from his music, he’s influenced by The Drive-By Truckers and even goes as far as to name drop them in the DBT-esque track, “Soule Lake Hotel” (Hey Matt, “Bulldozers and Dirt” is one of my wife’s favorite tracks as well). Other than that I can’t tell you anything else about the man behind the music, so let’s just talk about the music itself.

The cd opens with one of its strongest tracks, “Blackbird”, a somber acoustic ballad with full band accompaniment. It’s a song about a girl whose father abuses her and the slide guitar in the song does a great job setting the mood and backing Matthew’s vocals. Following “Blackbird” is a more Southern-rock inspired track, “Southern Belle”, which also features the backing vocals of Laura Lee Bishop. The rest of the cd plays out in soundscapes between these two tracks with the only letdown (imo) being “Miryea’s Song”. I feel like an asshole for saying that because I believe the song is for an ex-girlfriend’s daughter, but it’s true.

If you’re a fan of The Whipsaws, The Drive-By Truckers, Centro-matic and music of that ilk (which you are or you wouldn’t be here), then you need to check this cd out. It’s undoubtedly Essential Listening and very well may be a ninebullets Top 10 album of the year.

Matthew Dean Herman – Black Bird
Matthew Dean Herman – Southern Belle
Matthew Dean Herman – Soule Lake Hotel

Matthew Dean Herman on myspace, Buy Blackbird


A lot of people don’t know who Bob Log III is. Those that have seen him will never forget who he is.

My first Bob Log III experience came at the Deep Blues Festival ’08. He played with Possessed By Paul James and Scott H. Biram at a few night shows so I managed to catch him a couple of times outside of the festival and once at the festival. The first time I saw him I was convinced it was Scott H. Biram in a silver jump suit and a helmet, but then I walked up to the bar for a drink and Scott was sitting there. Suddenly I wondered, who the fuck was this man on the stage in a full-faced helmet and full-body cannonball man suit? As the show wore on he had women sitting on his lap, women with their tits in his drinks and by the end of the weekend he had a devoted fan in myself.

Bob Log was born in Chicago and raised in Arizona. When on stage Bob wears a full-faced helmet with a microphone wired into a telephone handset attached to the front of the face shield. When asked about hiding his face while on stage Bob tries to put it in perspective, “”My face has nothing to do with the music, I’d much rather people pay attention to my guitar playing.

Let’s talk about that guitar playing. Bob picked up the guitar like most 10-11 year olds, but when most 16 year olds would have been learning the riffs to the latest pop rock song Bob started playing slide guitar, modeling his style on that of Mississippi Fred Mcdowell. Playing with a style that is seemingly too fast to be natural, Fat Possum Records started the rumor that Bob had a monkey paw grafted onto his right hand following a tragic boating accident when he was a kid. When pressed about the monkey paw rumor in an interview with Bizarre Magazine, Bob explained, “I’ve got all my limbs. It’s just that when I’m playing my guitar my hand moves so fast it looks like a monkey paw, a hairy paw. My hand moves really fast. Faster than a normal human hand.” Personally, I love the monkey paw rumor.

If none of this has convinced you that Bob Log III is worthy of your attention, then perhaps this quote from Tom Waits will bring you around. Once in an interview, when asked what sort of new stuff he was listening to, Tom replied, “And then there’s this guy named Bob Log, you ever heard of him? He’s this little kid — nobody ever knows how old he is — wears a motorcycle helmet and he has a microphone inside of it and he puts the glass over the front so you can’t see his face, and plays slide guitar. It’s just the loudest strangest stuff you’ve ever heard. You don’t understand one word he’s saying. I like people who glue macaroni on to a piece of cardboard and paint it gold. That’s what I aspire to basically”. Seriously, when Tom Waits calls you strange, you’ve made it.

Back in early April Bob’s fifth solo album, My Shit Is Perfect, was released on Birdman Records. I’ve tried to figure out a way to describe his sound and the best I can come up with is this: Imagine Scott H. Biram with a tongue hyper-extended into his cheek but dead. fucking. serious. I’m not even sure you can truly appreciate Bob on cd unless you’ve actually seen him live. I know I probably wouldn’t have and according to a recent interview, I think Bob agrees:

City Weekly: Do the helmet, boobs, monkey paw, et cetera distract people from the music?

Bob Log III: I don’t drive with the helmet on anymore. I only wear it when I play. Helmet, monkey paw, suit, boob scotch—all this stuff’s basically somethin’ to talk about. I’m a guitar player, right? [laughs] That’s what I do. But you’re never gonna know what my guitar fingerpickin’ sounds like until you hear me do it. People can write about it until they’re blue in the face, usin’ all kinds of adjectives, but you’re not gonna know what it sounds like. On the other hand, if you’re readin’ an article where someone’s puttin’ a boob in a drink, ridin’ a boat on top of a crowd with a helmet on his head, we can all understand that. So I’m makin’ your job incredibly easy. ‘The ripping, swirling fingers of his magnitudeness—” You don’t have to go there. But [the show] is talk-aboutable.

Fortunately for you, he is currently on tour (and playing The Garage here in St. Pete on May 24), so get your ass out to a show and buy the cd afterwards.

Here are some samples:

Bob Log III – Goddamn Sounds Good
Bob Log III – It’s The Law
Bob Log III – My Shit Is Perfect

Just for fun: Bob Log III – Boob Scotch

Bob Log III’s Official Site, Bob Log III on myspace, Buy My Shit Is Perfect

I also thought I’d take this chance to pimp the Deep Blues Festival by offering y’all Bob’s set from last year. I hope you enjoy it:

  1. Put That There
  2. banter
  3. Turn Up My Fucking Guitar
  4. banter
  5. unknown
  6. banter
  7. Six Stringer Kicker
  8. banter
  9. unknown
  10. banter
  11. Wag Your Tail Like A Dog In Back Of A Truck
  12. banter
  13. Make You Say Wow
  14. banter
  15. Rattler
  16. banter
  17. My Shit Is Perfect
  18. banter
  19. String Around A Stick
  20. banter
  21. I Want Your Shit On My Leg
  22. banter
  23. unknown
  24. banter
  25. Clap Your Tits
  26. banter
  27. Boob Scotch
  28. banter
  29. Look At That
  30. unknown
  31. banter
  32. Slide Guitar Ride Junior
  33. unknown
  34. outro

Complete Set as a .zip file