12 Songs, 50 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Old Mad Joy finds The Gourds recording at Levon Helm’s studio in Woodstock, N.Y., underscoring the quintet’s sonic debt to The Band. The presence of Bob Dylan guitarist Larry Campbell as producer likewise highlights their affinity for classic folk-rock. This time out, singer/guitarist Kevin Russell delivers a dose of festive gospel-swing (“I Want It So Bad”), juggles bittersweet biblical imagery (“Two Sparrows”), and serves up a soulful celebration of love (“Eyes of a Child”). He’s complemented by Jimmy Smith’s zany, non sequitur–studded tunes, with “Drop the Charges,” “Marginalized,” and “Melchert” standing out for their supple grooves and poker-faced lunacy. Adding yet another color is Max Johnston’s “Haunted,” a spacious country-road ballad illuminated by Campbell’s pedal-steel work. Collectively, The Gourds play with the sort of loose-limbed camaraderie that comes with years of bar-band gigging. Their easygoing charm can’t disguise the quirky brilliance and heartfelt charm within these tracks. Old Mad Joy is an irresistible Americana oddball gem.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Old Mad Joy finds The Gourds recording at Levon Helm’s studio in Woodstock, N.Y., underscoring the quintet’s sonic debt to The Band. The presence of Bob Dylan guitarist Larry Campbell as producer likewise highlights their affinity for classic folk-rock. This time out, singer/guitarist Kevin Russell delivers a dose of festive gospel-swing (“I Want It So Bad”), juggles bittersweet biblical imagery (“Two Sparrows”), and serves up a soulful celebration of love (“Eyes of a Child”). He’s complemented by Jimmy Smith’s zany, non sequitur–studded tunes, with “Drop the Charges,” “Marginalized,” and “Melchert” standing out for their supple grooves and poker-faced lunacy. Adding yet another color is Max Johnston’s “Haunted,” a spacious country-road ballad illuminated by Campbell’s pedal-steel work. Collectively, The Gourds play with the sort of loose-limbed camaraderie that comes with years of bar-band gigging. Their easygoing charm can’t disguise the quirky brilliance and heartfelt charm within these tracks. Old Mad Joy is an irresistible Americana oddball gem.

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