Saturday, September 24, 2005

Snaky Blues from the Worn Out Shoes

Hot. Dirty. Blues. Hot and heavy as Mississippi from whence they came. Dark, dirty riffs and rhythms that hit you in the gut, and the groin. Primal blues that snake insidiously into your old soul and awaken the urge to dance with wild abandon. That was the spirit of the The Worn Out Shoes who played their brand of old Mississippi inspired blues at the Hexagon to a crowd many who couldn't resist shaking their hips and stomping to the shaker rhythms. I heard a quote from John Lee Hooker, "It's in him, and it's got to come out." That applies well to the slide blues guitar of Donny Moon, and heartbeat rhythms of Duane McIntyre's drums applied with animalistic wildness.

From the first song, I felt the show was a dedication to New Orleans and Mississippi as the songs were tinged with sorrow, and loss, and yet wildly free and sex-drenched slide blues guitar with it's characteristic relentless building tension and sweet release. Donny Moon revealed what I gleamed was true as he dedicated a song to one of a couple major influences, Mississippi's own R. L. Burnside, who died September 1st. I learned later the first song the Worn Out Shoes was inspired by x R. L. Burnside. Donny's guitar and singing style are mainly inspired by Burnside and Fred McDowell, old Mississippi bluesmen. Burnside was a staple of Fat Possum Records who the Worn Out Shoes recently got signed to! The Worn Out Shoes are joining the ranks of (a personal fave label) Fat Possum's luminaries such as Solomon Burke, Junior Kimbrough, Furry Lewis, Freddie King, and hot newer artists such as personal favorites The Black Keys, Grandpaboy, and Heartless Bastards, and post-punk We Are Wolves (see earlier entry for video link).

Well, Donny and Duane put on a mindblowing show. The flash of the slide as it effortlessly danced along the fingerboard, hypnotically applied by Donny (who appears to be one of those musicians who sleeps with his guitar) as he and Duane put on a show enthralling the half-full Hexagon, the crazy-making timing and pauses and transitions caused people to leap up, and dance wildly as though nearly possessed, taken by the spirit of the thing.

I now truly understand why Hex booker Chris Dorn has been recommending these guys most highly to me for so long, and I feel remiss that I've missed earlier shows. I won't let it happen again. Catch them as you can when they're in town (they're from 3.5 hours away near Viroqua, WI). I'll keep you posted. Since they're with Fat Possum it may become harder to see them when they begin touring the nation.


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