Bolsa de Agua | MUSIC: Soundbite | Indy Week
Pin It

Bolsa de Agua 

The Gourds, Sugar Hill CD

The year before Austin legend Doug Sahm died, he told Gourds' cofounder Kevin Russell that he wanted to pass his legacy on to him, the same thing that Willie Nelson imparted to Sahm's band in the '70s. The Gourds must be making Sir Doug and the rest of the Austin kin right proud.

All of the Gourds' albums carry on the Austin tradition of featuring a mixed musical bag, crossing over honkytonk, bluegrass, zydeco, blues, gospel, and rock 'n' roll. But their style has always been even more loose and distinct, like an Austin patchwork quilt stitched together with threads of fairytale lore and swamp boogie--a sound so eclectic that they never could find one record label that would consistently allow them to pursue their creative instincts. The Gourds have at last found a most fitting home on Durham's celebrated Sugar Hill Records with their latest craft, Bolsa de Agua.

Now add to their repertoire a cozy barnyard waltz called "O rings," a Federico Garcia Lorca poem laced with castanets, and a song about pickling. Bolsa wallows in Russell's and Jimmy Smith's arcane yet canny songwriting, lyrical antics that can break your heart and crack you up at the same time. On "Tearbox" Smith sings, "A funny little tearbox/A chest full of laughter." Russell's lyrics connote a similarly paradoxical condition: "I'm cooking the chicken and eating crow/and pulling the meat right off the bone."

Even when the words sound bleak, though, the inventive music on Bolsa turns these introverted expressions into uplifting songs. Further integrating the virtuosity of newest member Max Johnston (formerly of Uncle Tupelo and Wilco), Bolsa concocts a richer tone than do the Gourds' previous releases. Johnston's dobro, fiddle, and pedal steel pack more swing into the Gourds' country sound, more chops into their bluegrass, and give the last song "High Highs & Low Lows" a rockin' intro redolent of The Who.

A fuller stage in no way compromises the band's homespun, front-porch flavor, however, a flavor which their new label has vowed to preserve. Following Bolsa de Agua, Sugar Hill is reissuing the Gourd's four previous albums starting in late October. Dem's some good beeble.

  • Our critics' picks in new releases

Latest in MUSIC: Soundbite

More by John Martin

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in MUSIC: Soundbite

  • Soundbite

    Our critics' picks in new releases
    • Nov 16, 2005
  • Soundbite

    Our critics' picks in new releases
    • Nov 16, 2005
  • Soundbite

    Our critics' picks in new releases
    • Nov 16, 2005
  • More »


Twitter Activity

Comments

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation