One Foot In The Ether
The Band of Heathens
By James Calemine
The Band of Heathens avoid a sophomore jinx with their latest release, One Foot In The Ether. This Austin band contains three talented songwriters—Ed Jurdi, Gordy Quist and Colin Brooks. Although there are several songwriters, The Band of Heathens retain a cohesive, collaborative sound.
The opening track, “L.A. County Blues” offers a nod to the Kentucky Derby and Hunter S. Thompson twined with kerosene-laced guitar riffs. “Shine A Light” counts as a gospel blues reminiscent of The Blind Boys of Alabama recording with Ben Harper and Marc Ford.
“Golden Calf” serves as dead ringer blues with a voice treatment layered with haunting dobro. “What’s This World” proves as a pretty mandolin-driven tune that would pacify bikers and grandmothers alike. A great barrelhouse back-porch blues composition—“You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone”—will keep folks dancing on those late weekend nights at the juke joint.
“Right Here With Me” carries a banjo thread, twanging telecaster, Hammond organ and an R & B solo that indicates these guys understand different styles of American music. “Let Your Heart Not Be Troubled” casts a sad farewell to loves and ghosts of the past…even though they still linger. One Foot In The Ether emits memorable guitar riffs and subtle hooks that keep the listener’s attention on every tune.
“Talking Out Loud” sounds like an old STAX b-side, enough said. The final cut, “Hey Rider” stands out as an atmospheric gem. The sonic landscape of organ, slide and pedal steel evoke a sad soulful song not easily forgotten. One Foot In the Ether proves The Band of Heathens offer everyone songs of sin, redemption and salvation…