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The Lost Cause Minstrels

by: Grayson Capps

Album Artwork

(Royal Potato Family Records)

The Lost Cause Minstrels is Grayson Capps' fifth studio album. After Rott N Roll, Capps dissolved his group The Stumpknockers and formed The Lost Cause Minstrels. This new Gulf Coast band includes: Corky Hughes (guitars), Chris Spies (keyboards), Christian Grizzard (bass) and John Milham (drums).

Capps, the son of an Alabama preacher, attended Tulane University on a partial theater scholarship, but songwriting emerged as his gift. The Lost Cause Minstrels provides another strong case why Grayson Capps exists as one the country's finest songwriters. These 12 songs incorporate blues, jazz, country and folk into one streamlined sound. Capps dips into the great American songbook on this collection of songs.

The Lost Cause Minstrels opens with a banjo-laced "Highway 42" that calls to mind Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle or even Ryan Bingham. Roadscape lyrics create a vivid musical imagery with "Let go of the future/Let go of the past/Gasoline on the present/And have yourself a blast."

"Coconut Moonshine" sounds like a soundtrack from an outdoor bar on a remote Alabama beach. "John The Dagger" slices to the bone with a slashing guitar tone that surely resembles what Hank Williams would have sounded like if he formed an electric band back in the early 50s.

Capps covers Richard Brown's "Jane's Alley Blues" in a breezy, laid back reggae way that allows the listener to realize the singer is in pain, but his music is like a medicinal tonic. "Chief Seattle", a dark acoustic number, creates an overcast sonic landscape. "Yes You Are" stands as one of the centerpiece tunes on The Lost Cause Minstrels. This redemptive soul song does contain grains of true inspiration, faith and timeless insight. These lyrics resonate:

"Wake up in some hotel room
Naked and alone,
Empty glass and a heart of stone.
Thirty-five dollar hotel room
Seventy-five dollars for gas
I made a hundred dollars last night
Baby, you can do the math..."

Capps recorded a great country version of Taj Mahal's "Annie's Lover" that is followed by "Ol Slac", a New Orleans mardi gras fever song. "Paris, France" stands as a knockdown, drag- out American blues anthem revolving around Hurricane Katrina. Capps' voice commands emotion and conviction in every line he sings. "No Definitions" creeps into midnight-from- the-inside-out rock & roll at its finest.

"Rock N Roll" serves as the last song on The Lost Cause Minstrels. This quiet tune allows the listener to hone in on the smoke ring ghosts of Capps' mind. He's trying to save his soul in the devil's territory of the music business where Hunter S. Thompson said, "Is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side..."

These 12 songs verify Grayson Capps as one of the country's finest songwriters.

James Calemine
 

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Swampland review of Grayson Capps & the Stumpknockers: Rott-N-Roll 

 

related tags

Music,
Alabama,
Louisiana,
Tennessee,
Nashville,
New Orleans,
Mystery and Manners,

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