Powder Mill: New Mountain

By: Dennis Cook

When most people invoke Lynyrd Skynyrd it's usually a semi-derogatory allusion to misunderstood clichés surrounding the landmark Southern rock pioneers. Spend time inside the five Ronnie Van Zant led albums released between 1973-1977 (as well as 1976's barnstorming double live record, One From The Road) and you'll discover a group that understands the inner workings of blues, country and rock, and expresses their knowledge with lovingly tangled combinations – great American music picked up at grandpa's knee, along dirt roads and inside minimum wage jobs. Powder Mill reminds one a LOT of Skynyrd in their early scratching-to-make-a-name days, overflowing with ideas, unabashedly Southern and serving up something as satisfying as cornbread & honey butter.

Led by Jesse Charles Hammock II (Shady Deal), Powder Mill is Mike Cooley rough and Jason Isbell tender, musical kin to the Drive-By Truckers family while welcoming in vintage flavors closer to Black Oak Arkansas and the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, particularly in Powder Mill's incorporation of mountain folk elements like weeping, whipping violin. There's tons of invigorating foot stomp and nifty lil' touches that show all the smart whittling that's gone into this album. For as rangy and rowdy as their debut, New Mountain, gets there remains a real mix of moods and approaches, the band showing as much facility with acoustic lightness as they do with nasty boogies – a bit like those Skynyrd boys.

In the end, this sort of Southern rock isn't likely to reinvent much, so it's down to the quality of the playing and material, both of which are stellar on New Mountain. Your fave cut might be bouncing love letter "Baby Yo Man," road sing-along "Overpass," gnarly, amp-shaking opener "New Mountain" or plain ol' nasty "Meth Lab Blues" (which gets extra points for being credited as a "Traditional"). Or maybe like me, you'll find yourself just hitting repeat so you can let the whole enjoyable shebang bounce around the room without worrying too much about hierarchies. However, do keep an ear out for whatever Powder Mill does next. One suspects they're only going to flourish as they keep at it.


[Published on: 1/27/09]

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pabloMO starstarstarstarstar Thu 1/29/2009 05:25PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Miss Shady Deal a ton, glad to see ol' Uncle Jesse rocking it out...

corriepfefferkorn starstarstarstarstar Fri 2/6/2009 09:02AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

The Powder Mill crew is where it's at! These boys have a huge amount of creativity on "New Mountain", and their new songs are just as rockin'!! If you have a chance to see them live, it's worth it, their stage presence is excellent!!!

TreyPresson Fri 3/27/2009 06:44AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Jesse, Chappy, Pat, Andrew -Wanted to say that I love the album very much, its a solid Southern Rock Album and one of these days, maybe the rest of the world will take notice to the hard work and effort guys like yourselves, Us, and other Trumble Hill patrons and Rockers from Southeast Missouri alike are trying to do. Which is keep the TRUE SPIRIT AND RAWNESS of Southern Rock and Outlaw sounds alive. I'd like to thank Jeff and Jesse for the help on our first album Release "lets get rite" that will be released in April 09 and i cant wait!....The only thing i didnt like about this write up! They only mentioned Jesse's name from what i can see!!! hahaha j/k...there is 3 other members u know?!?! although Jesse Rocks i Know... He has found a great supporting cast for their project. had to mess w ya a bit my man(Jesse)....Jus lookin out for my boys Jeff,Pat,and Andrew! But from Myself and the boys, We love you guys and Wish you all the best!! God Bless! Shoot da Moon!

Trey Presson & The Bootheel Contingent


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