The Gypsy Sons | Whiskey and the Devil | Review
Hailing from Virginia, The Gypsy Sons' debut album Whiskey and the Devil is a thunderous declaration of intent from this new outfit. The ten song collection, released through Spectra Records on May 7, benefits from gritty production that captures the considerable crunch of the band's live sound while still providing the listener with a thoroughly professional product. This is not rock and roll intent on refashioning the wheel. It is blues-infused, deferential to the form, but stamped with the individual expression of four skilled and passionate musicians.
The leadoff track, "Walking on the Water", opens the album on a strong note. The rumbling guitar introducing the song leads the listener into a churning, hard-charging blues-rock assault. While the opening track wears its influences on its sleeve, the song "Inertia" is another high-point that boasts a strong lyric, piercing guitar work, and soulful vocals. The title track, "Whiskey and the Devil", is a very traditional take on classic blues and hard rock themes, but the band's vocal talent raises this tale of hard living to another level. “Killing Me" boasts music as desperate as the song's title. It is a blood and guts blues stomp of the first order with grinding guitar riffs and a terrific groove. "Cigarette" revisits some of the same individuality that made the earlier track "Inertia" stand out and, in moments like this, the listener gets a closer look at the men behind the fist-pumping bluster. Tracks like this amply demonstrate the band's versatility - while they rock quite convincingly, the band is likewise able to pull back and explore different shades and moods. The track's moody feel benefits from blistering lead guitar and great singing. The album's closer "Shell of a Man" generates considerable heat alternating between blasts of stuttering, almost funk-tinged guitar and propulsive drumming. It is a fitting conclusion to a strong debut slab of top shelf blues rock in a time when such music is in short supply.