Southern rock is alive and well as evidenced by Captain Soularcat's new release Three Rivers Point. The band out of Rome, Georgia made quite a splash this year with appearances at the High Sierra Music Festival, the Blue Ridge HarvestFest, and plenty of cross-country touring. Their two-guitar attack is reminiscent of other bands of the genre yet the songwriting is compelling enough to draw you into their heartfelt lyrics.

Three Rivers Point starts off rockin' with "Higher Mound," singer/bass player Scott Warren's gravely voice reminiscent of Gregg Allman as he delivers this soulful number. Rev Jeff Mosier of Leftover Salmon and Blueground Undergrass fame not only lends his banjo to this track but he also gets credit as the album's co-producer.

Continuing in a similar vein is the title song, a slower number with guest Mark Van Allen playing tasteful pedal steel. The funky "Salt Lick" has some crunchy guitar rhythms as well as nice saxophone by guest Brad Thomas. Later on we hear the hook laden "Minnesota Mourning" with vocals sounding right out of Gregg Allman's Laid Back lesson book. Not that this is a bad thing--in this case Warren uses this vocal style to great affect, and again on the ballad "Or Maybe Feathers." The Matt Williams-penned "Gotta Go" is a bluegrassy, boogie-down tune again with Van Allen's blazing pedal steel. Williams' pleasing vocals here are a nice change of pace. The album's last cut, "Crazy," is an all-out barnburner with additional percussion by Count M'butu.

All of the songs on the CD are written or co-written by Warren, with occasional contributions by lead guitar player Benji Shanks. The double guitar assault is completed by Williams, who also helps write the material and contributes vocals. Filling out the band are Jamie Kudlat on keyboards, Travis Cline, on drums and Gaurav Malhotra on percussion. The result of all these instruments is a full, layered sound with driving percussion and soaring guitars.

Thoroughly danceable with funky southern grooves and cool slide work by Shanks, Three Rivers Point delivers. Fans of Widespread Panic, Warren Haynes, or the Allman Brothers should really enjoy it.

Susan J. Weiand
JamBase | San Francisco
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[Published on: 11/3/04]

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