Whiskey Myers isn't afraid to pay their respects to some fine musical forefathers on the sophomore release, Firewater. Lead singer Cody Cannon explains, "We know people are going to compare our sound to Lynyrd Skynyrd, and that's fine, we take that as a high compliment." These Texans are delving back and picking from the the fertile musical intersections where southern rock met outlaw country.
The record rocks under the guidance of Leroy Powell (Shooter Jennings) in the producer's chair. There's a little bit of everything here with bits of Skynyrd grit, Black Oak Arkansas bombast, and Ozark Mountain Daredevil acoustics all filtered through a Black Crowes prism.
"Bar, Guitar, and a Honky Tonk Crowd" starts the proceedings off crackling with purpose followed by "Guitar Picker" which moves with righteous swagger. "Ballad of a Southern Man" does it best to bring that Skynyrd mythology to the present day with this lyrical turn: "I was raised in this land; I guess that's something you don't understand."
After years of country radio being awash in pop music disguised as country, Whiskey Myers indicates a nice trend. This band is out opening shows for country artists, and they're probably outshining many of the headliners. Country music has been liberally taking from the southern rock sound for years, but Nashville has also watered down the sound to a few slide guitars here and there.
Firewater breaks that trend with strong, throwback rock roaring like a 70s American muscle car barreling down a dirt road. It never lets up. Tracks like "Turn It Up" aren't looking for subtlety or providing any. Even when they slow it down, there's still an energy that's always present.
Just like the original southern rockers worshipped at the craft and mythology of the bluesman, soul singers, and R&B bands that influenced them, it's good to see young musicians recognize the equally important mythology of the southern rock/outlaw country era.
Drink deeply some Firewater. It's a potent brew
- Jim Markel
Swampland's Legends of Southern Rock Series
Includes individual pages on bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers Band, ZZ Top, Marshall Tucker Band, and several others. Each band page is loaded with interviews, reviews, and features.