CD REVIEW: Black Jake and The Carnies - Black Jake and The Carnies
By Don Sechelski - 01/25/2009 - 09:37 PM EST
Artist: Band: Black Jake and The Carnies Album: Black Jake and The Carnies Website:http://www.blackjakeandthecarnies.com Genre: Punk Bluegrass Technical Grade: 8/10 Production/Musicianship Grade: 8/10 Commercial Value: 4/10 Overall Talent Level: 8/10 Songwriting Skills: 8/10 Performance Skill: 8/10 Best Songs: Paper Outlaw, Crazy Mccready's, Hunter's Moon, Jasper Watkins CD Review:
Black Jake and The Carnies is not everyone's cup of tea. This
punk hillbilly band assumes the persona of backwoods, hard core misogynists
bent on murder and destruction as they slam their way through bluegrass tinged
tales of crime and cruelty. Black Jake's vocal is appropriately grinding and
his banjo is relentless. Gus plays fiddle, Zachary Pollock plays mandolin, and
D.P. Weatherwax strums guitar. Kingpin Billy Lalonde joins in on drums and
vocals while Matt B. Young and Joe Cooter play washboard and bass respectively.
Caleb Lee Johnson fills in where-ever necessary and Joe Zettelmaier and Timothy
Monger blend in with harmonies and accordion.
It's all good fun, of course, as the
band churns through songs about eccentric murderers and wicked children. These
guys will never be guests on the Grand Ole Opry but they are entertaining
nevertheless. Crazy McCready's is one of my favorites on the CD.
Gus's fiddle carries the day as Black Jake sings of the family from hell. Hunter's
Moon begins with a wildly discordant banjo roll before launching into a
song about an encounter with a strange werewolf who steals brides on their
wedding night. Whenever a serial killer is discovered, the neighbors always say
how quiet and polite he was. That's the story of Jasper Watkins. Black
Jake sings, "You apologized like a gentleman, before you did them folks
in, Your clothes were a’ glistening steaming red, You left behind a trail of
the dyin' and the dead." A Happy
Easter To Ya is about a feud that gets out of hand as the feuding fathers
arm their children. "All their little bodies marked the property
Jake and The Carnies
sing of murder and bloody corpses but somehow they make it all entertaining and
interesting. They race through bluegrass flavored songs as if they have a jug
of moonshine in one hand and a bottle of amphetamines in the other. If you're a
bluegrass purist or a fan of Peter, Paul, and Mary folk music, you'll probably
hate Black Jake and The Carnies but I don't think they care. They are
having too much fun. If you like punk music and you like bluegrass and you have
an open mind, Black Jake and The Carnies will make you smile.
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