Thursday, October 18, 2018

Review: Shooter Jennings, "Shooter"

Shooter Jennings decided to title his return to country music after himself, but it could just as easily be called Junior or Bocephus. Much of the record is simply a love letter to one of his influences – Hank Williams Jr. That’s not a bad thing, though.

The love begins flowing from the very first track, “Bound Ta Git Down,” which is Shooter’s unabashed reworking of Hank Jr.’s “Born to Boogie.” The life experiences recounted in the lyrics belong to the singer, but the rocking boogie-woogie rhythms and melodies are mostly Hank, with some notable influence from Charlie Daniels. Despite its derivative nature, though, it’s still a high-energy and fun way to start this record.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Review: Cypress Hill, "Elephants on Acid"

I can count on one hand – with fingers left over – the number of hip-hop acts I get excited about hearing new music from. Cypress Hill, though, is at the top of that list.

I was a metal kid in my early 20s who, with a couple of notable exceptions, hated hip-hop with a passion when I first heard Cypress Hill through a friend and co-worker at the fast-food joint where I was working my way through college. He was a black hardcore hip-hop fan from California, and I was a white redneck metalhead from Louisiana. We often taunted each other, good-naturedly, with our respective music while we worked. That was his intent when he popped a Cypress Hill disc in the little boom box, but there was something about this group that caught my attention. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but they had a different vibe that I really liked – and it didn’t hurt, I guess, that one of the first songs he played was “I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That,” which sampled Black Sabbath’s “The Wizard.”