CD Review: Chris Ezelle

BY CHRIS GUNNELLS

Ezelle‘s new album is full of raw, unpolished tunes and that is the way he intended for it to be. The genre of raw blues/folk/country is one that is meant to give the listener the feel of sitting in an old country store and listening to whomever brought their guitar to pick. Ezelle’s vocals sound very similar to a mixture between Bob Dylan and John McCauley of Deer Tick, and that’s definitely not a bad thing. The album has an overall dark theme about the fight/struggle with the hardships of family, religion and self.

Dr. Buzzard- A dark intro to an even darker song and the addition of good harmonica work gives the listener a sense of what direction the album is going in. It seems like Ezelle really wanted to set the tone of the album with this song.

Summertime Bleeding Heart- A track with a classic acoustic blues sound with begging lyrics like a blues song should have. The harmonica break at 1:56 is a nice added touch to the song.

Red Hot and Hashbrown Blues- Nice work on the slide brings this song to life and shows that Ezelle really has a good understanding of blues music. “It’s the 11th hour and the devil is makin’ his news.”

1902 Farmhouse Blues- The lone chorus is really good and deserves to be in the song more than once. The imagery through the lyrics really make this song more than what it would’ve been without it.

Me and the Pitchfork Man- A nice change after the three straight blues-dominant songs. If only this song were longer, but, then again maybe Ezelle got out all he needed to say with this one regardless of length. Another batch of solid lyrics too.

Going Back- This song is the pride and joy of the album. “Will you please see that my grave is swept clean and when I meet death don’t you feel sorry for me.” The harmonica pick-up beginning at the 3:13 mark caps this song off perfectly. Job well done!

The Spooky Collector- It’s very tough to follow “Going Back” but this song does a good enough job of that and keeps the album flowing. Very clever music and lyrics for this track as well.

 Killing List- Ezelle tells a great story in this song and it really makes for a fantastic track. Add Ezelle’s smooth harmonica work and you’ve got a song that deserves as much credit as any other on this album.

Dockery Farms- This song contains a good chorus and lyrics full of meaning. Ezelle keeps at it with his nice harmonica work, but this time with a distorted, electric twist.

Rosary from New Orleans- You can’t have a blues album without the mention of the crossroads and Ezelle does exactly that in this song. A great chorus that needs no words, only oohs. Fantastic lyrics make this song a great ending to the album. “He’s a wolf in wolf’s clothing, they keep falling asleep.”

With this album I get a sense of a farmer or a backwoods country man who has given up and decided to tell his story. The music has been done before, so, as a listener you won’t be getting anything new. As far as raw, country-folk blues goes, the listener definitely gets that with Ezelle behind the harmonica and mic.

Key Tracks: “Killing List,” “Going Back,” “Red Hot and Hashbrown Blues,” and “Rosary from New Orleans”

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