BY FRED MILLS
It commences with a prescient snare-drum rat-a-tat-tat, B-3 organ hum and bent-string licks that’ll warm the cockles of your Crescent City-lovin’ heart; it closes in a riotous orgy of distorted/phased gutbucket boogie, the likes of which fans of JJ Grey & Mofro and the North Mississippi Allstars savor and would even kill for. In between are 8 additional songs that’ll put you in the front car of a sonic roller coaster ride that careens across the hills of western North Carolina for an economical but no-moment-wasted half-hour-and-change. As purveyed by guitarist Reed Turchi & Co., Turchi’s brand o’ roots ‘n’ blooze will make you a believer in the power of a higher spirit, or at least the power of hi-octane mountain moonshine.
In a review of the band’s 2013 EP My Time Ain’t Now this writer enthused, “Hailed as the ‘kings of kudzu boogie’ in their hometown of Asheville, NC, Turchi may not yet be musical royalty, but as far as the second part of that musical equation goes, the inherent sonic serendipity evinced throughout this 5-song 10”-er is profound indeed.” From the sound of Can’t Bury Your Past the Turchi crew is fully ready to ascend the throne. It’s as rocking a set as any collection of Southern-fried stomp ‘n’ twang you’ll hear all year, yet there’s also an elusive element of cerebral sensuality that informs these ten tracks, and that collision of the primal and profound serves to give the material an uncommon emotional heft.
From the bawdy, booze-soaked, bad-boy blues of “(We Could Still Be) Each Other’s Alibi” and the Morphine-like honk-and-hoot “Burning In Your Eyes” (both featuring saxman Art Edmaiston in a death-duel with Turchi) to the aforementioned gutbucket boogie (a smokin’ cover of Alvin Youngblood Hart’s “Big Mama’s Door”) and the spooky, Tom Waitsian strut of “Bring On Fire, Bring On Rain” (wherein Turchi speak-sings atop acoustic licks, martial percussion and Anthony Farrell’s elegant organ lines), the album is a nonstop celebration. Turchi, accompanied by bassist Andrew Hamlet and drummer Cameron Weeks, clearly soak in this kind of stuff and have internalized its rhythms and tropes to such a degree that they perform with the confidence and urgency of musicians thrice their age and experience. They connect, too: every single time I have played this over the stereo of the record store I work at, shoppers have stopped what they were doing to come up to the counter and ask me who the hell it is. That doesn’t happen every day, or for that matter, even every week.
Sings Turchi at one point, “I know I’ve been/ Gone for awhile/ But I have something/ That’ll make you smile.” Talk about testifying the truth. Sing it, brutha.
DOWNLOAD: “Bring On Fire, Bring On Rain,” “Big Mama’s Door,” “Burning In Your Eyes”