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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Tishamingo

Wear N' Tear

Review by Gary Hill

Alright, so first off, it is a weird name. As it turns out the name is taken from the movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" As their web site describes it, "the three main characters stop at a crossroads in rural Mississippi where they see a man standing with a guitar. The man asks if they're headed to Tishomingo, a place where he heard people can get paid for singing into a can. They pick him up, and they all go to a radio station in Tishomingo. There, under the moniker The Soggy Bottom Boys, they record a song that becomes a huge hit. In Tishomingo, four drifters became a band." Admittedly these guys altered the spelling of the name, but it's a cool name for a band. Tishamingo is a new band composed of more or less unknowns. Still, the musicians in this outfit that is based out of Georgia have played in various groups over time opening for such bands as Widespread Panic, B.B. King and others. This particular grouping, though, has only been around since 2001. With Wear 'N' Tear, they have produced a disc that should please fans of southern rock, while possibly exciting listeners of jam bands and even fusion at the same time. Make no mistake; this album is first and foremost built on classic rock with a decidedly southern bent. The thing is, these guys do it very well. They hit on groups like Skynyrd, ZZ Top, The Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker and others, but they also bring in a jazz texture at times, and (as with the Allman Brothers) a jam band sensibility. The end result is a unique, but familiar soundscape. While it occasionally drifts too far into country territory for this city boy, there is plenty here that works quite well. These guys would have been right at home on the radio in the 1970's, so now it's time to see how they do in the '00's.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Wastin' Time
This stomper is a killer start to the disc. It's a fast paced southern rock romp with just a slight touch of funk. This one could stand alongside anything from Skynyrd or Molly hatchet and features some smoking guitar work and an Allman Brothers like vibe at times. It drops to a slow blues grind late in the but, but they jump it back up to a ZZ Top does Zeppelin segment before returning it to the chorus to end.
Hillbilly Wine
This comes in as a rather Skynyrdesque anthemic balladic track. It's quite country in texture, but all rock n roll, too. This wanders into an open jam after a time that turns into a very jazzy excursion. One can look at it as kind of a fusion take on the Allman Brothers. The pull it back out eventually to the main song. This one gets quite powerful as it carries on.
Poison Whiskey
Bouncing in this feels a bit like Little Feat. It's a killer southern rock groove. The Skynyrd and ZZ Top leanings show up on this one as well. It's another that also features an Allman Brothers like jam.
Magic
This comes in as a mellow old school jazzy ballad. They electrify it after a time, but that style carries through. Only the vocals lend the southern rock sound here. It is a classy piece and a nice change of pace - very cool.
Rome
This Al Dimeola like number is another change of pace, and it just bursts out abruptly. This instrumental is quite entertaining and another example of how versatile this band is.
Billy
This one almost feels like a cross between Jimmy Buffet and the Allman Brothers and Marshall Tucker. The vocals are very country. This is a balladic number in the potent chorus.
Willin' To Die
This is an ultra brief acapella cut.
Legend of George Nelson
A country hoe down, this is way too down home for my tastes. It is fast paced and fun loving, though.
Worn Out Soles
This comes in with a gospel sound and feels a lot like a more country balladic take on the sound of the Georgia Satellites.
Ain't Got Time
This countrified rocker is another that calls to mind both the Allman Brothers and Marshall Tucker.
Reprise
A frantic instrumental, this is another with the solid Allman Brothers leanings. It's an inspired jam and great album closer.
 
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