Reveiw of "Blood and Mood" by Twangzine
The SPBGMA (Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America) has put out a contract on the Bad Livers. The last I heard, the contact was up to about 12 dollars in cash money. In Bluegrass circles that's considered a fortune. I guess the Livers' days are numbered. It seems that a few of the purists are a bit upset by the Bad Liver's latest release and have been complaining about the band performing unnatural acts with a banjo. "This disc ain't no
part of nuthin" a SPBGMA spokesman was heard to say.
While searching for a real job in North Carolina, I made a stop at the Headquarters for World Domination, aka Sugar Hill Records and visited with my buddy Steve Gardner. We got to talking about what great guys the Livers were, even Mr Congeniality, Mark Rubin. Steve told me that the great Lloyd Maines had produced their newest record. Now Lloyd Maines is my hero. He has been single handedly responsible for producing most of the music that don't suck, at least that portion coming out of Texas, for the last several years. People like Robert Earl Keen, James McMurtrey, and Ray Wylie Hubbard. Thus, knowing Maines' work as well as being a longtime Livers fan, I had an idea of what to expect from this record.
Brother was I wrong. When Steve first gave me the disc, he told me "You ain't gonna like this.
You're too fat, old and set in in your ways for music like this".
"Does it suck?" I asked.
"Nope, it's just different."
I had no idea it was going to be this different.
When I popped this little plastic disc into my cd player, it changed my life. My foot oder went away. My wife started being nice to me, my kids started treating me with respect, all my credit cards got credit increases and this was before I even pushed the play button.
I know how much some folks hate having to label their music. Music should come in two catagories; Music that sucks, and music that doesn't suck. If that were true, then this disc would belong in the Doesn't Suck section. However, a reviewers job is to try and describe the record. The closest I can come is Hillbilly Hip Hop. There is some punk rock feel to a couple of tracks, and one sounds like a duet between Marilyn Manson and Merle Haggard. What the Livers did was start off with a drum and bass record. First they laid down these killer rhythms. Then banjo, flatpicked guitar, spoken word, pedal steel, screaming electric lead, and tuba were all laid down at exactly the right places.
Now I hate rap and I'm not a big hip hop fan. Most punk rock leaves me shaking my head and sticking my fingers in my ears. But I find that I have been playing this disc over and over and over again. Each time I play it, I pick out something different. Whether it's a phrase from Danny Barnes' banjo or just a perfect steel guitar lick from Lloyd Maines. The Bad Livers have just released the Album of the Year.
That's one of the things I love about these guys. Just when you think you know what to expect, they come out with something completely different. I loved Delusions of Banjer, yet I hated Hogs on the Highway. Industry and Thrift was a wonderful record, but Blood and Mood is the best album the band has ever made. It should become a hit on both college and alternative stations, however, I don't think the band is going to be invited to play any SPBGMA gigs anytime soon and thats a shame. The Bad Livers aren't really a bluegrass band anyway. They are a Good Music band. If you like good music, then you will like this disc.