The Outlaw Orchestra

2021

Joe Bonamassa ROYAL TEA.jpg

'Powercut', in a word, seems quite apt for a title of an album released as a mini-LP in the middle of Lockdown. Shorn of the opportunity to go on the road and promote anything new, the band have decided to pare down their sound and produce an acoustic set, but with the shrewd retention of the lap steel guitar.

They have been labelled in the Metal press as “Heavy Grass”, referring to their Blue Grass influences and instrumentation, and one would be forgiven for thinking they give off the air of a group of muso pals engaging in a nonchalant post-work jam-session, however this piece is anything but ramshackle. Moreover, so convincing they are in their in Americana stylings, it is hard to comprehend that they originate from Southampton.

They eschew the usual Country Blues clichés, and there is a hint of the decadence of 'Exile on Main Street', especially in the lyrics of 'Chicken Fried Snake'. The lilt of the lap steel on 'Got it Made' just lulls the listener in, before breaking into the toe-tapping 'Back to Georgia'.

The masterstroke was employing the gospel-tinged vocals of Trish Burke Manser on the track 'God Knows' and the closing number 'Send Some Whiskey Home'. It is here where they recall Primal Scream on the finer moments of their 'Give Out, But Don’t Give Up' Stones-inspired LP.

Ivan De Mello