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The Gourds


I was listening to this new Gourds record, eating a bowl of shredded wheat as the sun came up. I noticed that I was shaking my head, but I was tapping my foot. And there it is--my mind was saying "this is really messed up," but my soul was saying "this is really good, I think..."

When I was reading the bio, I thought it said "They are quitters in the true sense of the word" and dropped my spoon I was laughing so hard. But it said quilters, though that’s a pretty domesticated word for guys that would probably stitch a dirty cloth napkin into the patchwork to remember a good meal. The bio did go on to say that whatever the hell else this music may be, that it is first and foremost a music of joy. I like that.

It’s mumbo gumbo, a raucous riotous mixture of more than a dozen musics, and good on them. It’s a suitable antidote for contrived concoctions of all kinds. Tell you what Heavy Ornamentals is, it’s pretty great. They follow a high-spirited string band tune like "Stab" with a tearful ballad like "Our Patriarch" and light up several specials, which is where the points are.

There’s so much right going on in the attitude of this enterprise, and that’s the beauty, that’s the magic of this music. If you’re looking for polish, best check the pantry, because you won’t find any of that here. Try and polish these tunes, you’re liable to get a splinter too big to require tweezers.

"Declineometer," the rousing opener, really gets the wagon rolling. I don’t have a clue what it’s about, and don’t really care; it sounds good, and I sing along when the catchy one word chorus comes around. But here are the opening lyrics to the next track, "Burn Ther Honeysuckle"

I was born in the summer
With black gum on my heels
Full grown and cussin
And bleach on my wheels
Killed me a panther
‘fore I was even grown
With a pocket knife and a guitar string
And a light honeycomb
They’re gonna burn ther honeysuckle
Burn honeysuckle, they’re gonna
Burn honeysuckle when I die  

Like the Bad Livers, it is from Austin they come. They are a wondrous lot, a precious commodity Americans should be aware of and support. It’s got to be a curious combination of not giving a damn and caring very deeply about certain things that has kept this group alive, and we want to find out more about it. You can too, on the Listen page, and buy Heavy Ornamentals, here.  

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thegourds.com      eleventhirtyrecords.com

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