TISHAMINGO : : WEAR N' TEAR (Magna Carta '05)

Southern rock has not changed all that much over the years. Embodying the "if it's not broke, then don't fix it" mentality, mixing inebriation-soaked guitar wizardry with delta-blues, down-home storytelling and good ol' Stratocaster solo-ing has remained intrinsically conjunct from Lynyrd Skynyrd to the Black Keys, Kings of Leon, Drive-By Truckers, Widespread Panic, and the venerable Allman Brothers Band. The symmetrical sonic cousin of a feast of perfectly breaded fried chicken, piping-hot cornbread, sweet potato pie, and collard greens, Southern rock still retains its embryonic exuberance, fed by stories of whisky shooting, gun slinging, poverty, sharecropping, and down-home family values.

Georgia's (by way of Florida) Tishamingo is yet another band that simply breathes Southern rock, and disseminates it well. This is guitar-driven, organ-fueled country cooking, fed on heaping spoonfuls of Allmans, anything Warren Haynes-oriented, and perhaps all of the aforementioned. There is no inter-genre experimentation in this listen, just straightforward, no holds-barred Southern rock and blues, dominated by the machismo of the electric guitar and legends that are bred by nights of Jack Daniels, the swamps of the delta, and the sweat felled by its inhabitants.

"Hillbilly Wine," a Gov't Mule laced track that uses loud, heavy and forceful rhythms atop dual-guitar wank, plays seriously with tried-and-tested themes of swampy alcoholism while the following number, "Poison Whisky," simply hammers the point home. Ghosts of Robert Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and Rick Danko peer through in "Rome," an impressively mature track that capsizes stereotypes of relationships gone awry to gorgeously exhibit the pure essence of the Deep South and the trials and tribulations dwelling within.

In addition, there is a lewd mysticism at work throughout the listen, evidenced in "Magic," a possible ode-to-a-prostitute that builds upon sultry, solo guitar-drudgery and simple yet entrancing rhythmic lines that tell the tale of lost lust, in a hypnotizing fashion, discarding subtlety for frankness - a theme that perversely encapsulates the listen. This is simple, utterly mature Southern rock, demonically revealing devilish haunts in a clever and attractive way, much like the soul of the region itself. Often the most enriching musical representation can symbolize both the apex and the nadir of the society for which it is written, and Wear n' Tear does just that, in a brutally honest, sweepingly persuasive manner. Although Tishamingo has not altered or expanded upon a chord or theme evident in Southern rock, fried chicken is fine the way it is.

Shain Shapiro
JamBase | Worldwide
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[Published on: 5/21/05]

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