Brothers of The Southland is one of the best of the plethora of “all star” bands playing today, and their debut CD is a sheer joy from beginning to end. This is the kind of music that gets me downright excited. Maybe that’s why I named it as the best Southern Rock album of 2007, even though it wasn’t really released officially until 2008.
With a superstar lineup that includes Jimmy Hall of Wet Willie, Henry Paul of The Outlaws/Henry Paul Band/Blackhawk, Steve Gorman of The Black Crowes, Dan Toler of The Allman Brothers Band, Reese Wynans from Stevie Ray Vaughan’s band, Mike Brignardello of Giant, Steve Grisham of Ghost Riders, D. Scott Milller, Charlie South, Jay Boy Adams, American Idol Bo Bice and the late great George McCorkle, it would pretty darned hard to miss.
The songs are amazing. Lots of reminiscing, as in “Back in the Day,” a tune that finds Henry Paul flashing back to memories of the original Southern Rock era, and then there’s Jimmy Hall singing “I’m a Rock and Roll Survivor,” truer words have never been sung. Keep on smilin’, Jimmy.
Of course the band takes its name from the Southern Rock tribute song Henry Paul wrote and performed with Blackhawk, a song that is recreated here to great effect.There’s a great cover of Toy Caldwell’s “Can’t You See” with Bo Bice on vocals and a rousing “Dreams” that blends the original Allman's arrangement with the later version popularized by Molly Hatchet.
Jimmy Hall always knocks it out of the park, and every time he steps up to the plate on this one he hits a home run, including an ultra funky “Travelin’ Light” and a super soulful “Pray for Me,” backed by a female gospel chorus. It’s enough to make you slap your granny.
Brothers of the Southland will remain in rotation on my iPod for a very long time. I truly don’t believe I could ever get tired of it. This is good stuff.
-Michael Buffalo Smith