John Moreland & The Dust Bowl Souls - Everything The Hard Way

Some people may listen to this and hear straight rock and roll. While that's true, it's that type of rock and roll that is just shy of being radio friendly. I can't place why that is exactly; perhaps it's the rawness of the execution. There's never anything too showy. The guitar solos stay pretty tame and don't run to fit 1,000 notes into a measure. It's almost like the replacements mixed some Chuck Regan style vocals. At times you also get that Bruce Springsteen feel from the gritty vocals.

"Everything The Hard Way" starts off in a folk direction which really reminds me of the Chuck Regan solo material. Just when we think this will be the general direction the drums kick in and the straight forward rock and catchy choruses proceed. The pace is kept up on songs like "Low" and "Young Love Lost in a Flood".

The pace slows a bit for "Holy Ghost Haunted" which opts to keep on the subdued side of this band's rock spectrum. We go even further off the spectrum with the folk sounds of "Gods" which has a nice haunting melody and beautifully depressed execution. "This Town Tonight" has the same effect and shows that this could easily just be a one man folk act and still translate the same power.

The opening groove on "Christmas Lights" swells with some nice stop/start guitar laden rock. The song flows with perfection and has some great technical subtleties that show how this band can really pull off great musicianship without sacrificing it's driving sound.

The band closes up with "Good Enough" which takes you to their well crafted rock sound. There's even a reference to the Misfits classic "Where Eagles Dare" in there. From what I can tell, the lyrics are very introspective; perhaps a look back on the past and some reminiscing on them. If you like bands like the Gaslight Anthem, The Replacements, etc..then this might be for you.

Listen to the whole thing here.