I first came across Band of Heathens about 5 years ago when I was doing promo and tour booking for local NorthEast acts looking to go national. The gent I was working for said to me "when it comes to booking and radio, use the Band of Heathens as a template for success"...soon after that conversation, the BOH fellas hit number 1 on the AMA chart, that kind of stuck with me and I have been watching the band's ups (their obvious success) and downs (band members changing) intently over the last couple years. I have always heard how great these guys are live, I can understand with the hints of Grateful Dead, jam band influences, and obvious energy that requires feeding off of the other band members why this is so. But, that being said, their new album is just fantastic and seems to accomplish that in a recorded setting just fine.
The record kicks off strong with "Caroline Williams", a fun and upbeat kind of jam with a nice repeating line "Caroline Williams don't live here any more"...although the message may be a bit, not upbeat. I think it takes a band with a specific set of skills to take a downtrodden tune but make you want to groove to it. That's just what BOH does, you want to groove the shit out of these songs...and you will.
By the time the tracks 'I Miss My Life' and 'One More Trip' roll around, I feel like the band is full on channeling...well, The Band. There's a bit of Levon in those vocals and drumming, and the sound of the group is just spot on and tight. And that makes me smile. As a huge fan of The Band (honestly, is anyone not a fan of them?) and the late, great Mr. Helm, I hope they take that as the utmost compliment coming from this writer. But don't get it wrong, the guys still have a sound all their own. The ever changing leads on vocals make a strong and dynamic listen that will never get old.There is a healthy mix of swirling organ, rock guitar, and on point harmonies that will have you hanging on and begging for more.
"Shake the Foundation" is another tune that just explodes with infectious energy. I mean, this song truly just fucking rules. I have listened through the record a number of times (more than I can count on both my hands and feet) and every single time I hit 'replay' on this track. If you have a pulse, you will do the same.
All in all, this is a really fun listen with some substance."Sunday Morning Record" is creative, its dynamic, and the band shines in all of the right places. Excellent harmonies, pro musicianship, and that certain unexplainable notion that makes Band of Heathens an Americana band that is going to be around and in your view for a very long time. What it comes down to, is these guys just plain know how to craft a really great and listenable tune (or in this case, collection of them).
Check out Band of Heathens online at:http://www.bandofheathens.com/
And be sure to grab their new record 'Sunday Morning Record' when it hits the streets on September 17th! They will also be in town on the CD release tour at the Sinclair on September 28th...who knows, maybe the fellas will make an appearance at some of the New England Americana Festival festivities...