Whiskey Myers come ridin’ out of the Southern sunset with ‘Early Morning Shakes’, their debut UK album release steeped in the tradition of such legendary acts as The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Southern rock bands, from the 1980’s onwards, will always be compared to legends such as Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top. Throw a pinch of The Eagles, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones in to the mix and you have Whiskey Myers! I say a pinch, what I actually mean is a large dose! Some bands create their own unique, instantly recognisable, sound. Others pay homage to their influences, and this five piece from Palestine, Texas seem to have managed both on their third career release ‘Early Morning Shakes’. None more so than the title track. They’ve taken ‘When The Levee Breaks’ by Led Zep, stripped it down, then built it straight back up again into a bluesy, soulful rocker, and the perfect introduction to the album. The Led Zep effect strikes again on track two when the riff to ‘Heartbreaker’ morphs into one of my favourite songs on the album, ‘Hard Road to Hoe’.
Now, in my opinion, the single greatest vocal performance ever was by Merry Clayton, The Rolling Stones’ backing singer, on the song ‘Gimme Shelter’. I’ve not heard anything since that comes close to it, until now! Kristen Rogers, the backing singer on many of the tracks on ‘Early Morning Shakes’ has a voice that sends shivers down my spine, and compliments Cody Cannon’s voice so, so well. This would be a great album without her, but Kristen’s inclusion makes it an outstanding album!
‘Dogwood’ is a country song through and through that tells the sad story of a lost teenage love, in an up-tempo style. That, along with ‘Shelter From the Rain’ were the two songs, on the first couple of listens, that I skipped over because they weren’t ‘rocky’ enough. I’ve now listened to them a few times and am more than happy to sing along, nod my head, tap my fingers, and admit I was wrong to skip over them!
‘Home’ then sets the tone once again for a few rockers. ‘Headstone’ is one of the stand out tracks, although, out of the twelve songs, I’d say half of them stand out! Cody Tate and John Jeffers produce some outstanding guitar work throughout the album and the rhythm section of Gary Brown on bass and Jeff Hogg on drums are technically superb. ‘Where the Sun Don’t Shine’ keeps up the pace before ‘Reckoning’ slows things down and tilts it’s hat to Skynyrd’s ‘Simple Man’.
Kristen Rogers sends shivers once again on ‘Wild Baby Shake Me’. Kicking off with a honky tonk guitar riff and ending with gospel style vocals, this is the nearest to early 1970’s era Rolling Stones at their best, that you’re gonna get!
The final three tracks ‘Lightning’, a cover of David Allen Coe’s ‘Need a Little Time off for Bad Behaviour’ and the tear jerking ‘Colloquy’ certainly don’t let the side down. There are some great stories told on this album. From the opening track describing tribulations of alcoholism, to the final song, which depicts a father spending his dying days with his son, the album ends with a monumental, soulful guitar solo that leaves the listener with a warm feeling inside.
If Southern Rock is your thing, then this album is definitely for you.
As the lyrics in ‘Headstone’ say, Wilder than a cyclone, smoother than home-grown – say hello to Whiskey Myers!
Whiskey Myers – “Early Morning Shakes” Lyric Video: