Hard Working Americans – Hard Working Americans

first_imgLooking for some authentic, down-home rock ‘n roll? Well, who better to play it for you than some Hard Working Americans, the true champion of the southern rock music.The Hard Working Americans are making a splash with their self-titled debut album, and, well, credit earned where credit is due. Hard Working Americans is a strong showing of musical prowess and enthusiasm, capably bouncing between high-octane rockers and bourbon-soaked ballads. The cohesion of this album lies in its honesty; this is a band eager to share their music with the world.First thing’s first. H.W.A. was created by Southern rock singer Todd Snider, and features bassist Dave Schools (Widespread Panic), guitarist Neal Casal (Ryan Adams/Chris Robinson), keyboardist Chad Staehly (Great American Taxi), and drummer Duane Trucks (Derek Trucks’ brother, Butch Trucks’ nephew). Of the band, Snider said, “I’ve been standing in between these two worlds (of Americana and jam bands), thinking that the people in each of them were meant for each other.”He further elaborated, saying that “the songwriters in the Americana world were spending as much time on their poems as the jam bands spend on their tones and their solos. Why not put these things together? Why not combine the best songwriters with the best musicians?”It’s a good point, considering that “bag it, tag it, sell it to the butcher in the store” isn’t the most profound of sentiments. On the album, the band reinterprets blue-collar tunes, drawing from renowned artists like Randy Newman, country musician Frankie Miller, and many more. It’s groovy, to say the least.The album kicks off with a beckoning electric guitar riff, quickly accompanied by a rolling drum beat and smooth singing. “When the lord made me, he made a simple man/ Not much money, and not much land/ He didn’t make no banker, no legal charmer/ When the lord made me, he made a blackland farmer.” Yeah. “Blackland Farmer” is that kind of bluesy groove, accentuated by poignant piano and sliding guitar fills. All smooth, all the time.But Hard Working Americans isn’t entirely gritty southern blues. Two songs later, we get The Hard Working American’s rendition of Kevin Gordon’s “Down to the Well,” a slower, more contemplative track. While some songs on the album are rockers, this (and others) are swayers… moments made for holding up a lighter and dancing along. The slide guitar work and piano accompaniment on “Down to the Well” draw out the emotion, with sweet, lingering tones that soothe the soul.I can’t do this album justice without mentioning “Stomp & Holler,” a Hayes Carll song brought to life with a boogie-woogie piano line and powerful harmonica playing. Maybe I’m a sucker for the harmonica solo, but it gets me every time. Here, just listen to the song for yourself:Hard Working Americans is a real tribute to Southern rock and blues music, in the tradition of bands like the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. But, rather than sounding derivative, The Hard Working Americans infuse this earnest genre with life. It’s a great, great album.You can stream the album in its entirety, through PopMatters, by following this link.-David Melamed (@DMelamz)last_img

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