Whatzup
The Sh#% House Boys
The Sh#% House Boys

by DM Jones
The Sh#% House Boys

The Sh#% House Boys

The Sh#% House Boys

When it comes to making music that hearkens back to a particular era or style, authenticity (or lack of it) is key. Whether it’s in the tone, the instruments, the recorded sound or the intangibles you can’t easily explain, how “real” the record sounds goes a long way toward whether an artist pulls it off or not. Thankfully, the Sh#% House Boys uh, drip with authenticity on their debut, a disc tracked in the late summer of 2007 at Monastic Chambers (the session was part of a package of winnings the S-Boys received upon winning first prize at a recent battle of the bands competition). Their combination of hoedown bluegrass, vintage rockabilly and early swing goes down like a mason jar full of the smoothest homemade cider you’ve had in awhile, albeit spiked with a mule kick.

Acolytes of such musical giants as Woody Guthrie, Charlie Poole and Hank Williams (no, not the bearded version who hawks football games; this is the original), the S-Boys navigate the waters of vintage Americana with friendly banjo rolls (“Take Me Back to Danville”), choo-choo train build-up (“Goin’ to D.C.”), frenetically strummed singalongs (“Hold the Woodpile Down”) and even a blues-edged honky-tonk (“Cocaine Habit Blues”). But these aren’t mere trips down memory lane. Just as many protest songs from the Depression Era folded political unrest and not-so-sunny sentiment into memorable, simple tunes, the songs on this disc definitely aren’t whitewashed in the lyric department. The slightly unhinged narrator of “Goin’ to D.C.,” is hopping a train to the Capitol for the express purpose of presidential assassination, while the not so politically correct “Sally’s Got a Wooden Leg” is something of a love song, nonetheless. But this playful, rough-and-ready approach fits the music perfectly. Though the songs (expertly recorded, by the way) tend to sound pretty similar in both instrumentation and tempo throughout the album, the result seems to add cohesion to the whole disc. Now that they have a fine, authentic-sounding debut under their belts, it might be time to move out of the outhouse and into the back room, at least. (DMJ)

Copyright 2007 Ad Media Inc.