From the very first rhythmic sounds that came flowing out of my speakers when I played this gritty EP from Beau Hinze and the Backporch Shufflers, I was hopelessly hooked.
The first tune is called “Swamp Rabbit Boogie” and it is a witty little ditty that had me placed in a very colorful, almost cartoonish, Louisiana Swamp. I picture the wildlife that is sung about here all emulating human beings, up on their hind legs boogyin’ to the music.
It’s an all-acoustic endeavor that will remind you of bands like The Gourds, but Beau Hinez and the Backporch Shufflers stand on their own. What amazed me more than anything about this little gem is its range.
Beau Hinez’s voice is not restricted to only singing fun little tunes about Swamp Rabbits. He can just as easily belt out a ballad as pretty as anything I have ever heard as evidenced by “Tears in My Pillow” containing gut wrenching lyrics – “struggle for a soul nights rest/gritting my shaking teeth, gripping my chest/praying for peace, I’m holding my breath/suffocating from, suffocating from tears in my pillow”. The entire tune is so complexly written and arranged, you may forget you’re listening to a Texas Roadhouse type of a record. That feeling is short lived though.
The next tune is an up-tempo song about what else but a train, more specifically, “Hurricane Train”.
Yes, this is an EP containing six original tunes, but it has the feel of an LP. Probably because each song is either right at, or well over four minutes in length, some approaching five minutes.
There is layer after layer of texture here. Texture that feels as if it has grown from beneath your feet, right out of the rich dark Texas soil, sprouting what the band refers to as a “mix between Texas Roadhouse music and uncut bluegrass”
The band is Beau Hinez who writes and performs most of the music, as well as the fiddle of Josh Droegemueller (who also co-wrote “Six Pack”), and Doyle Spitzer on harmonica. “Racecar” Jim Bernick plays the bass and Josh Reddoch on percussion supply the solid rhythm. Luke Adair and Slim Bawb on banjo, dobro, and slide guitars, guest on the record to help add an extra punch to the already well-written and performed material.
This is a well-crafted EP that will probably at least find its way to my top 20 list of records this year, if not the top 10.
‘Rebel’ Rod says check it out.