Gideon Smith & the Dixie Damned – 30 Weight (Small Stone Records)
Gideon Smith’s most recent offering is a wonderful piece of American rock ‘n’ roll, blending as it does seventies hard rock, stoner, doom and southern rock. Smith is flanked by a tight, kick- ass band and his soulful, smoky voice gives the whole thing its’ distinct character. Occasionally, the album evokes a moonshine version of Danzig’s Rick Rubin era and the riffs fit the Small Stone house style very well, but the blues is never far away.
The real surprise is Smith’s love for British bands like The Cult and Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction. Perhaps more than any of his albums, this element becomes more predominant this time round, especially in songs like the opener Black Fire and Ride With Me (both of which ride on propulsive riffs), while the catchy as Hell Feel Alive might just be my favourite thing here, all AC/DC strut ‘n’ roll and Southern groove. Add a mournful version of GG Allin’s When I Die (Smith knew Allin back in the day) and an awesome cover of Saint Vitus’ I Bleed Black and you have Smith’s most accomplished record to date.