Baby, They Told Us We Would Rise Again counts as Bloodkin’s seventh studio album. Recorded at David Barbe’s Athens, Georgia, studio, these ten songs represent Bloodkin’s latest and some of their finest work. Daniel Hutchens and Eric Carter’s 30-year history together continues in this streamlined collection of close-to-the-bone rock and roll songs.
Bloodkin ranks as a great performance (and highly under-rated) band, and these tunes will no doubt transfer well to a live audience. However, songwriting remains their ace in the hole. The opening song, “The Viper” emerges as one of those sold your soul to the devil at the crossroads signature songs. A sinister glimpse into this wayward path appears in Hutchens’ lyrics: “So you put the shotgun in your mouth/But you can’t pull the trigger now/Your hands are dealing for the house/Now you’re working for The Viper.” The Drive By Truckers’ Mike Cooley plays banjo on this tune and Widespread Panic’s Todd Nance contributes percussion.
Bloodkin’s current line-up: Hutchens on vocals and guitar, Carter on guitar and vocals, Eric Martinez on guitar, David Nickel on bass, honorary member William Tonks on guitar/dobro and the group’s original drummer Aaron Phillips pounds the skins serving as Bloodkin's most cohesive line-up. “Easter Eggs” contains the album title and emits a timeless tune dedicated to old souls.
“Ghost Runner” ranks as one of Hutchens’ best songs. It’s a tune about sandlot baseball that should really serve as the MLB’s theme song. “Rhododendron” epitomizes Hutchens’ ability to construct lyrics around memorable hooks. One cannot overlook Eric Carter’s guitar playing, which remains the backbone of Bloodkin’s sound. Dobro master William Tonks plays on “Rhododendron” and several other songs on the album, which creates a wicked six-string tapestry combined with Martinez and Carter.
Eric Carter sings lead vocal on “My Name Is Alice”, a song that captures a gritty rock and roll resonance few bands ever attain--David Barbe contributes his multi-faceted expertise on this tune. “Heavy With Child” seems to find the songwriter(s) in a different place as if self-preservation creep’s into the band’s musical equation. Two weeks before the album’s release Hutchens explained to me Bloodkin’s mode of operandi on songwriting: “The classic Bloodkin combination is basically I write the lyrics and Eric writes the riffs. Now, that overlaps—sometimes he writes lyrics and I write some guitar, but generally that how it works. When I write a song I always think of it as a black and white sketch—like me sitting there on acoustic guitar playing that song. Then going into the studio or going onstage with the band, and in particular with Eric Carter—that’s the color. Eric will come in and splash paint all over it and bring it to life and make it this living, breathing rock and roll recording.”
“A Place To Crash” re-kindles the old days for the band imbedded in the lyrics where “Hell and high water and hard times never faded our design.” Hutchens dedicated “Little Margarita” to his young daughter, which further solidifies the group’s future intent. “Wait Forever” exists as the oldest composition on the CD—one from the old days—and sounds refreshing in 2009.
The final track, “Summer In Georgia” offers another glimpse of hope between the lines in the Bloodkin saga: “Let’s roll down the windows/Get the Braves on the radio/Let our minds flutter off in that butterfly sky/I know out there somewhere/There’s a world full of sorrow/But today I’m smiling/And I bet you know why/Sweetheart it’s summertime in Georgia.”
The Drive By Truckers’ Patterson Hood, who invited Bloodkin to open some shows for the Truckers on this 2009 latest tour, wrote in the album liner notes a definitive belief among longtime Bloodkin fans: “This is music reflecting not just the pain and suffering that accompanies life but also the love and beauty that hopefully fights for it’s rightful place alongside it. Life affirming Rock and Roll in the finest tradition. This is music to LIVE with and it don’t get any better than that…”
It’s good to see my Bloodkin brethren rise from the ashes.