From a Flock of Black Sheep
Nashville country has a strange, haunting relative rising from the mistâ€šÃ„Ã®but this is no kissing cousin. Though sharing the same roots, so-called â€šÃ„Ãºcountry gothicâ€šÃ„Ã¹ or â€šÃ„Ãºgothic Americanaâ€šÃ„Ã¹ is distant kin to the pop-crossover fare played on CMT. However, with the rise of performers like Jesse Sykes, Miss Derringer, and Munly & the Lee Lewis Harlots, a genre that may be a hybrid of outlaw country, primitive folk and indie rock has crept onto the scene.Here, Gill Landryâ€šÃ„Ã´s The Ballad of Lawless Soirez finds its place in the crowd and yet stands out from it. Landry has authenticity on his side, having earned the touch of grit and sawdust under his strong, bluesy voice with years spent busking in New Orleans and absorbing old Southern music from the seasoned musicians playing streets and clubs. When he laments such sights as a â€šÃ„Ãºpoor boy / Ainâ€šÃ„Ã´t got no home / Walkinâ€šÃ„Ã´ a junkyard of machines and bones,â€šÃ„Ã¹ there is no hint of the musical tourist.
Even better, the sound Landry produces is dark and vivid enough to provoke shivers. Over minor chords he starts spinning tales like that of â€šÃ„Ãºmy baby [who] loves the voodoo smoke angels over cypress groves,â€šÃ„Ã¹ inevitably allowing a weeping viola trembling with vibrato, ghostly mariachi horns and the plaintive wail of a singing saw to steal his spotlight. In this way, each song conveys a charming kind of misery.
True, other musicians may use sparse electronica (among other modern tools) to convey the alienation of urbania. Listen to The Ballad of Lawless Soirez and be convinced that real lonely happens in the South, in the swamps, in the black forests of the country.