2015 : Self-Released
Format : Cassette/Digital
It’s cloudy in the West and there’s lightening on the horizon. You take a deep breath of rain mixed with ozone that makes the short hairs on your neck stick up. There’s that primal fear of the storm, but that twinge of excitement that runs up your spine because you know today’s monotony is about to be shattered. Well, that’s kind of what listening to Snakes is for me, and I do have that country blood.
On first listen, the comparisons to the now defunct Sterling Sisters is pretty obvious, and how could it not be with two former members making up two-thirds of Snakes? The most glaring of course is the über talented George Cessna. Damn, that boy can sing, but as I’ve stated in previous reviews, growing up under the watchful eye of Slim Cessna, how could you not have some chops, but no man is an island and he doesn’t go it alone. The band literally smokes.
From the opening of the Ennio Morricone fueled “Theme For “Snakes” you know you’ll be saddle sore before this ride is over. Next up is the foot-stomping “Young American” propelled by rockabilly reverb and sweet organ riffs. “Aloha From Old Mexico” is the crooning theme for a Clint Eastwood that should have happened. The sleazy Blues undercurrent of my personal favorite “Calling Out The Law” is next. It’s a mid-paced rocker well suited for all the Cheyenne’s and Candi’s working the pole in those dimly lit bars that you think maybe it ain’t such a good idea to go into judging by the bikes out front but what the hell. “Hiram King” is another crooner that kicks off with what sounds like the drum accompaniment on an old Wurlitzer organ….and it fits perfect. Clocking in at 1:47 is “Snake Piss”, a smoker that reminds me of the old eighties “Cow Punk” (hated that term) days of bands like Jason & the Scorchers. The album closes out with the hold me close slow dance sadness of “Save A Dance (For Me)”.
Now I’ll be the first to admit that there’s a lot of tongues to the cheek here and it’s all done with a big ol’ dose of fun, but it doesn’t change the facts that the songs are great. George is a natural when it comes to pinning a tune, even when he throws in a line like “King Kong with a 3D bong, Cory asked me to put it in this godamn song” that makes me rewind/play for about 10 minutes straight. And none of it would matter if these boys couldn’t play, but they can. And they obviously know their roots. This is Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Buck Owens, Mule Skinner Blues, Sun studios, Hee Haw and the Louisiana Hay Ride hanging out at your backyard barbeque, smoking filterless Camels and drinking all of your Lone Star.
As of this writing, only the digital version is available for purchase. I don’t care, grab it, throw on your gimme cap, roll your windows down and drive until there’s no concrete in the rearview.