In seeing a not so glamorous review of the boys’ latest release, I felt the need to give it a little love. Not that I needed to, as they gents keep selling this damn thing out on Amazon. So how about them apples?
I’ll be honest, I would stray from making an ‘official release’ of a live compilation as an artist. I find live recordings tend to be best suited for archive.org or capturing a fun evening…but for me GGG’s tribute to Hank Williams hits the mark for what it is. A recap of incredibly well loved and well attended shows that the boys curate for the simple love of Hank Williams music and the impact he has had on their style.
The band is prime. Let’s face it, Ward Hayden has a voice like no other…you can compare it to Dwight Yoakam or whoever, the guy just has a voice that makes everyone who listens to it go: OH MY GOD, LISTEN TO THAT VOICE! Chris Hersch’s guitar playing has sunken into the arrangement of the band over time and fits like a glove. A glove that knows right when to explode heads with a waterfall of notes leading into a fiery fury of a guitar solo. The core band, rounded out by the thumping of the bass by Paul Dilly and imcomparable drumming of Josh Kiggans. With guest spots by Jason Anick on the fiddle and Miss Tess on the vocal harmonies…I mean, what more do you need? The energy is high and electric and it pounds its way through my headphones and down into my heart.
As far as from a pure nit picky audiophile kind of a standpoint, it does feels a little bit overly compressed sonically, not enough of “the room” perhaps…but if you have been in the Lizard Lounge’s dungeon-like (and I mean that in the most loving way possible), it doesn’t necessarily lend itself to an ideal recording space…especially with it as jam packed as their yearly celebrations have been. Hayden’s voice is a little bit verby during the between banter, but it works really well during singing (like beautifully well)…so I guess it’s a trade off and when it comes down to it: it is a live recording. That’s where any possible criticism ends.
For what this compilation of tunes is to the fellas of Girls Guns and Glory: a tribute to someone who has so profoundly influenced Hayden’s songwriting and the band’s aesthetic, it wins. It wins so friggin good. The compilation is fun, you can hear the excitement and enjoyment in the music contained here, so how can you note enjoy it? This year in particular it seems that GGG has taken the reigns and run with the ‘Hank thing’ a bit more than previous years, but they round that out with regular original recordings so I’d say they are safe…though, I’d love to see an acoustic driven record in the near future. ‘Fireworks & Alcohol’ revisited? Make it happen boys!
Close your eyes. When it comes down to it, this record makes you feel like you are there during their celebrations, which I think is the point, capturing the vibe and the feeling that they have at these events. Which the collection does and does so incredibly well…so enjoy it, tap your feel and sing along to old Hank’s most classic tunes with a contemporary twist via GGG. JAMBALAYA!