Last week we talked Jawbone. This week I would like to talk to you about a lo-fi blues outfit that goes by the name The Black Diamond Heavies. Recently I requested the Radio Moscow cd from Alive Records and they sent the BDH disc along with it. I really did not know much about the band. I knew they were touring with Scott H. Biram and he had spoken very highly of them when he played here last. Outside of that I didn’t even know what kind of music they played.
The Black Diamond Heavies are a duo from Tennessee consisting of John Wesley Myers on bass keys, Fender Rhodes organ, and vocal, and Van Cambell on drums and vocals. That’s right, no guitars. The Fender Rhodes electric piano takes the place of the guitar in this punk-ass garage blues outfit. With “Waits after a bender” vocal delivery, this disc takes one by surprise. Once you get used to it, it all works amazingly well, and after a few listens it freaking rocks. The piano in place of guitar goes from an oddity to a strength to something you wish you heard more of. The distorted growling vocals goes from shocking to tolerable to soulful. And you the listener? Well, you go from shocked, maybe even a little scared and confused, to intrigued, possibly even curious, then the fingers start snapping, you turn the radio up a little and the feet start tapping, you turn it up a little more and you start goose necking. Then, turn it up juuuuuuuuust a little more…so you can feel the low end of the keys and then you are a convert.
Scott Biram will never steer you wrong. So, check out these samples and give the band a little time to grow on you before you move on….you might be glad you did.
Black Diamond Heavies official site, Black Diamond Heavies on myspace, Buy Every Damn Time
The Black Diamond Heavies played Tampa a little while back. As I type this I regret missing it. Terribly. I found this review of their performance in our local free weekly:
Call me a convert. Call me a sinner. Call me what you will. I have witnessed the devil’s music of the Black Diamond Heavies and am ready to testify. (…) Most of the set list came from the Heavies’ latest release, Every Damn Time. Notable was the performance of “Fever in My Blood,” during which Campbell and Myers launched into a vein-pumping, cymbal-crashing improvised freak out — a jam apparently so powerful that it caused one whiskey-soaked patron to stumble out of control, resulting in broken glass and a capsized speaker. – Tristan Wheelock / Tampa-Creative Loafing
Damn it man. Next time. If they are coming to your town check it out and tell me how it was.