More ballads of the Southern Men as Whiskey flows back into Birmingham
Their second foray into these parts in a little over five months, sees Whiskey Myers with every reason to be pleased. It’s Sunday night and there are a lot of things on in the second city this evening – Iron Maiden and Monster Magnet are all in the vicinity for starters – but the Institute is heaving in much the same way it was in December last year when last they were here.
The set they play tonight is more or less the same, although it feels heavier and perhaps a little more raw than back then. Perhaps because they’ve been on the road promoting their quite magnificent “Mud” album since and the songs are more road tested and have taken on a life of their own.
It does seem very much that the six piece are a band that loves living its life on the road. The stage is their natural habitat and they probably only go into the studio to get a new bunch of songs to play to an audience.
And that audience is treated to something very, very special tonight. “On The River” is as thick as the swamps and “Mud” is worthy of being the title track, before an extended jam on the, well, whiskey soaked “Early Morning Shakes”.
With bands like this people with far too much time on their hands concern themselves with debating whether they the music is rock or country. WM confront this tedious notion by being extremely good at both and merrily switching between the two. “Broken Window Serenade” is a gorgeous peice of laid back country with guitarists John Jeffers and Cody Tate weave some Allman Brothers like patterns, while “Lighting, Bugs And Rain” is unashamedly Skynyrd.
It’s the mixing of sounds that is all-important to Whiskey Myers. “Frogman” is filled with raw passion (two words that in fairness you can always use in connection with singer Cody Cannon), and “Ballad Of A Southern Man” is shot through with a different kind of emotion. That of being unapologetic and honest.
Then there is the sheer belief that rock n roll should just be fun. “Some Of Your Love” is little short of gleefully delivered, Tate adds his vocals to “Different Mold” and “Headstone” is anthemic.
The set might end with a cover of “Seven Nation Army” – which like all great covers finds something new to say about the song – but this evening is a celebration of Whiskey Myers.
The encore sees “Home” given a world weary slant, before a crushing “How Far” starts with Jeffers and Tate trading licks in an old fashioned duel and ends like a party.
So, as the song says, how far do I have to go? Well, at the current rate, the sky’s the limit. That’s for the future. What we can say right now is that Whiskey Myers are almost without peer and to paraphrase another of their lines – this time from “Ballad Of A Southern Man”, that is something we can all understand.