BY FRED MILLS
Arrr-OOOO!!! Not since Dr. John commenced his night trippin’ has there been a set of voodoo-blooze rawk quite so brilliantly primal as the third platter from Austin’s Churchwood. Check this little excerpt from hypnotic anthem “Eminence Gris Gris,” which invokes the ghosts of New Orleans:
“He coming down Bourbon, he struttin’ all the way to Marigny
He got a cane and a turban, a little juju for the enemy
He got a sack full of mojo, a John the Conquer root, a marigold
He got a friend in Coco Robicheaux, the Loup Garou, and the cat bone
He the Eminence Gris Gris, he come gunning for the faux”
Other snippets from Howlin’ Wolf-channeling singer Joe Doerr funnel their way disturbingly deep into the psyche: “holla petunia with your rope-a-dope spine” (now that is some come-on for the ladies); “I spit you out into the lukewarm billabong” (consider yo’self dissed); “I split my wealth by means of stealth and I made a triptych of myself” (uh… right!).
Which would be apropos of nothing ‘tweren’t it for the musical goods that Doerr’s compatriots—guitarists Bill Anderson and Billysteve Korpi, bassist Adam Kahan, drummer Julien Peterson— serve up. From the fractured/dissonant stutter-stomp waltz that is “Shake the Vine” and the sinewy Zeppelin-goes-Beefheart rocker “Hanged Man” to rawhide-textured faux-spaghetti western epic “Drapeatomaniac” and the unbridled punk romp of “Chemtrailer Trash,” the C-wood lads display their agility at inhabiting multiple genres (sometimes several at once) and ability to shift gears at the flick of an unfiltered butt. It was no coincidence that Churchwood was invited to perform at BLURT’s annual SXSW day party this year as well as last year; we generally prefer to have different artists each year so as not to appear to be playing favorites, but were so blown away in 2013 that it was almost a foregone conclusion we had to see ‘em a second time. Me, I’ll be front and center whenever I have the chance to catch Churchwood live. Meanwhile, this record’ll be keeping me warm….
DOWNLOAD: “Eminence Gris Gris,” “Hanged Man,” “I Spit You Out”