Way back in the mystical year of 1983, two young men by the names of Barrence Whitfield and Peter Greenberg were working at a little record shop in Boston. As is inevitable with two young musicians left together for long enough, the men formed a band called Barrence Whitfield and the Savages with their mutual friend Phil Lenker. The rock band did a few recordings, but eventually went on a twenty-five-year hiatus, reforming in 2010. Now they have a new record, Dig Thy Savage Soul, out on Bloodshot Records. So, after thirty years of making music together and with others, do the Savages still got it? The answer involves a few expletives and an emphatic affirmation.
This record is exactly what a good rock’n’roll blues album should be. Whitfield’s voice has that intoxicating rumble and the passion he exudes for his music pours from the speakers like honey. The lyrics simply yet powerfully put into words the deep emotions over everyday hardships great and small. A perfect example comes with “I’m Sad About It,” which will have you sitting next to your record player, forlorn and shaking your head in a “Sing it like it is, Whitfield,” fashion. The horns and keys provide solid support, adding silk to the raw emotional grit of Whitfield’s voice and lyrics.
This is the perfect album to blast as summer draws to a close. It has the perfect mix of energy and content to accompany any last-ditch effort to enjoy the warm weather, and the best part is that Dig Thy Savage Soul will sound just as good wrapped up in a scarf with a hard cider in the coming months. Whitfield and the gang prove that not every artist falls into the pits after a long time at their craft. Here’s to thirty more years of Barrence Whitfield and the Savages.