The Back Row Baptists were brought to my attention via some of my fellow Twitter tweeters a few months back, and after a few mishaps one of their new cds, Broken Hearts & Bad Decisions, landed in my mailbox. For a while I really didn’t think I liked the album very much but after a few passes I realized that there was just a 4 song stretch (tracks 4 thru 7) in the middle of the cd that I really didn’t like. I deleted them and found a new band that I am digging the hell out of.
The Back Row Baptists come out of Birmingham, Alabama and consist of Chris Porter, Sarah Green, Heath Green, Susan Nuckols, Adam Guthrie and Jay Taylor. Where I come from, Southern Baptists are everywhere. Besides being bat shit crazy they are also one of the most judgemental cults you’ll ever run across (but at least they don’t rape little boys like those pesky Catholics). I tell you this because I’ve always heard the term “back row Baptist” used as a descriptor for a Southern Baptist who drinks, gambles and commits other hell-worthy offenses, of which Southern Baptists have more than the day is long. Now, I don’t know if that’s where the band pulled the term from, but I am pretending that it is.
Their bio describes their music as “uniquely Southern” and “outlaw gospel”. In this era of internets, cable tv and increased homogeneity, I’m not quite sure what “uniquely Southern” really means anymore, but I can damned sure get on board with the “outlaw gospel” descriptor. Another one of my fellow twitter tweeters called them, “a Birmingham version of American Aquarium”. It was a comparison that I had not even thought of, but damned if a revisit to the album didn’t prove it to be dead on. Both bands write real songs about real people (literally) and real situations. However, The Back Row Baptists do it with a lot more of a country flair. One might say Chris Porter’s voice sounds a little like a young pre-years of road abuse Ben Nichols while his inflection could be the brother of BJ Barham’s. I’m also told they’re one hell of a fun band to see live, so I just might have to put on my show promoter hat and get them down here to Florida.