This article originally appeared in the Kentucky Kernel.
At a time when people are reverting back to the age of classic rock, blues and old-time country, Nashville’s Blackfoot Gypsies bring a refreshing update to the genres with their third studio record “To the Top!,” out April 14 on Plowboy Records. The 15-track compilation sees the energetic four-piece foray into their usual blend of Rolling Stones-era rock ‘n’ roll along with honky-tonk country, jazz, blues, soul and Americana.
Tracks such as “I’m So Blue,” “I Wanna Be Famous,” “She Was Mine” and “Why Should I Try” are a few examples on the record illustrating the group sticking to their rock and blues-infused roots, while “Potatoes and Whiskey,” a song that carries the banner of the album, features up-and-coming country outlaw Margo Price joining on harmonies with a pedal steel and gritty guitar which helps to manifest a song emulating many of the great artists that have called Nashville home in the past.
While “To the Top!” is mostly confined to no-holds-barred rock ‘n’ roll, tracks such as “Back to New Orleans,” “Velvet Low Down Blues” and “I’ve Got the Blues” see the group broadening their scope, dabbling in jazz, old-time country and Americana, and blues respectively. “Velvet Low Down Blues,” the most slowed down cut from the record, also sees frontman Matthew Paige and bassist Dylan Whitlow joining for synchronized harmonies that show a sense of intimacy and further add to the song’s old-time comparisons of a group being huddled around a single mic.
Splitting the album in two is the track “Lying Through Your Teeth,” a song about love lost that features a medley of instruments including keys and violin to go along with the hard-driving guitar and nasally vocals of Paige. The catchy lyrics of the tune, such as “How many lovers did you get today / Everyone you talked to has gone away / It ain’t what you did it’s just what you say / Lying through your teeth until you hit the grave,” provide for one of the most soothing, easy-listening songs on the record.
Helping bring the album to a close is “Gypsy Queen,” a head-banging tune featuring Ollie Dogg running wild on harmonica in between Paige’s wailing lyrics. The song is arguably the most Rolling Stones-esque on the record, combining with the signature reckless abandon the Gypsies are known for.
At times the Gypsies appear to be on the verge of spiraling out of control with their raucous instrumentals, but they somehow manage to navigate the fine line between organization and chaos to produce a record beautiful and diverse in sound, equipped with ups and downs that grab the listener’s attention, taking them on a musical journey back in time to the golden days of rock ‘n’ roll.
The Blackfoot Gypsies, consisting of Paige, Whitlow, Ollie Dogg and drummer Zack Murphy will bring an explosion of energy, their new tunes and their best 1970s garb to Irvine next month for a performance at the fourth annual Moonshiner’s Ball.