The Gourds just roll along, a well-oiled machine with effortless playing. I know that the lyrics to this tune are pretty pessimistic, but they are delivered in such a peppy and upbeat way that it creates joy nonetheless. Who cares if you are singing what in essence could be a follow up to Randy Newman’s song, “Mama Told Me Not to Come.” Oh woe is me. Seriously, Kevin Russell could sing the proverbial phonebook; I actually witnessed him singing the specials on the chalk board at Threadgill’s before a performance one day, and yes, he made that fun too. I don’t know the derivation of the song---what prompted Kevin to write it, but we have all been there. “How did I ever get here? And more importantly, how will I ever get out?”
We are so happy that The Gourds, consisting of Kevin Russell, Jimmy Smith, Max Johnston, Claude Bernard, and Keith Langford; multi-talented all, have a new record out called Old Mad Joy, on a legendary imprint no less, that of Vanguard Records. It is a perfect home for them as through the decades, Vanguard has always stood for artistic integrity. When I was growing up, there were a couple of record labels that you would take a chance on an LP purchase, even if you had never heard of the artist. Vanguard was that kind of brand. All this time later they still are.
The Gourds took us for a ride when they came to visit Marathon Recorders for the Music Fog Fall Marathon during Americana Fest. Fasten your seat belt, forthwith, the Music Fog take on “Peppermint City,” the original of which can be found on their new album.
- Jessie Scott
PS: We are happy to tell you to check your local listings this weekend for ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival, featuring highlights from the 2011 Americana Honors & Awards Show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.