The Steepwater Band:Revelation Sunday

By: Dennis Cook

For a trio of lank haired white boys from Chicago, Steepwater sure channel the holy hellraisin’ spirit of the blues. Their amp-rattling ruckus is full of crossroads and judgment days, moonshine and dark city steel, sweet baby girls and heavy hearts grappled into boot shufflin’ shape.

Revelation Sunday (Diamond Day), is new classic rock – 11 cuts ready to take on the James Gang at high noon and then chase down ZZ Top with a pair of rusty barber shears. Steepwater keep it greasy. There’s nothing too gussied up, the songs’ skin and bones right there for everyone to see.

A trio now after years as a quartet, Steepwater sound more focused, more salivatingly hungry than at any time in the past. These are the rawest, heaviest tracks they’ve ever laid down, which is saying something given the excellence of Dharmakaya (2004) and Brother To The Snake (2001). The departure of singer/guitarist Mark Connelly means less pastoral digressions but more gutbucket snarl from guitarist/singer Jeff Massey, bassist Tod Bowers and drummer Joseph Winters.

This has the headlong rush of a steam train making a final run down a tough grade – they might hit the brakes in time, then again, they might not. You feel this surge in the cowbell clap of “Steel Sky” and the strip club wiggle of “Government Graffiti.” It’s in the remorseless beat of the aptly titled “Collision” and the backwoods howl of “Mercy.” When they do slow on “A Lot Of Love Around” they could be Free in their fighting prime. In fact, Massey’s guitar frequently recalls Free’s Paul Kossoff, enjoyably rough yet capable of eloquent tenderness.

Revelation Sunday should delight anyone who’s had their skirt blown up by The Black Crowes, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals or Backyard Tire Fire. Hound Dog Taylor would have loved this, R.L. Burnside, too. It’s what you’ll put on when you’re doing straight shots and engaging in questionable behavior.

JamBase | Windy City
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