23 September 2010

Bethany Saint-Smith and The Black Oil Brothers: "American Honey"

Some of you might recall in December I met Bethany Saint-Smith and The Black Oil Brothers (collectively called The Black Oil Family), I reviewed of The Black Oil Bros.’ “Long Way From The Delta,” and Bethany answered 5. If you don’t, lay off the whiskey and check those out here and here. Mind you, the interview and the review were of two separate acts (what a jip!). But! For your listening pleasure, Bethany Saint-Smith and The Black Oil Brothers give us “American Honey”! No, no, that’s not a blues harp in my pocket, I’m just really excited to have heard the record.

“American Honey” opens up to the sound of a commotion followed by some wicked laughter. To me that’s the sound of the devil, and he’s come ta’ getcha! While sadly no, it’s not the devil’s eerie howl, Bethany Saint-Smith has probably heard it before and referenced it for this intriguing bit. “Stop Stompin’ On Me” immediately picks up nice and easy with an old school slow groove with some poignant-yet-understated guitar licks peppered in, and harp work reminiscent of the sound of a train horn in the distance chugging along to the rhythm. One particularly beautiful song on the record, “Acres of Roses,” instantly pulls the mood down and shares hard-won wisdom. This song is so beautiful and sad that I’m making it the official song of my next breakup. Not to say I plan to leave my girlfriend any time soon, but should it ever end, this song will be playing while I drink heavily. One thought that instantly came to mind is quite an interesting paradox: to my ear “Acres of Roses” could have influenced Metallica’s “Low Man’s Lyric.” Mind you, “Low Man’s” was written over 13 years ago. It’s not a case of the old one inspired the new one, oh hell no. A song that was written in recent history could have easily been the prototype to an older tune. To me this speaks volumes to the obvious fact that you just don’t hear music like this anymore. And of course let’s not forget the classic spiritual and cultural icon “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” where Ms. Saint-Smith really lays it on with her sultry pipes.

While I can’t say enough of the dynamic pairing of these two great acts to form the blues juggernaut known as The Black Oil Family, I can say that they’re living proof that some people can still make’em like they used to. This is the blues you should be listening to. This is the music that you should be listening to.

Track Listing
1. Stop Stompin' On Me
2. They Fall
3. Acres of Roses
4. I'm Comin' Home
5. Hold The Knife
6. Swing Low Sweet Chariot
7. Avenue A

Keep up with Bethany Saint-Smith and The Black Oil Brothers on their Facebook.

And individually, Bethany Saint-Smith on her MySpace and The Black Oil Brothers at their homepage, MySpace, and Facebook

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