Hogjaw – ”Way Down Yonder” (Snakefarm records)
I have to confess, I’ve never heard of Hogjaw, but as soon as I saw their list of influences, I snapped this up straight away.
As I love my Southern rock, I couldn’t pass up something that namechecked the likes of Molly Hatchet, The Outlaws and Dan Baird (ex of the Georgia Satellites), as well as newer bands such as Whiskey Myers, and I guess the not so new Blackberry Smoke… And thankfully, the album does not disappoint.
Hailing from Arizona these four friends could easily be from the East Coast as they have a sound that fits in perfectly with all of the Southern bands I’ve listened to since the 70’s. And I can see where all of the influences fit in, and I’d probably add The Allman Brothers to that list as well, mainly for when lead guitarist Jimmy Rose goes off into his own little world, especially on the opener, “Back Home Today”, and man, what an opener. Southern from head to toe, and topped off with the Honey JD soaked voice of Jonboat Jones.
I’m not a fan of Black Stone Cherry as I can’t quite gel with them. Track 2, “To Hell With The Rest”, sort of reminds me of them… but this I like. And that’s sort of where Hogjaw dwell. They are definitely at the catchy end of Southern Rock, but there’s plenty of dirt and dust to keep this down in the gutter.
Tracks 1 to 9 fit in with this ethos. So if my review has made Hogjaw sound appealing, then you’ll love the album. But I would like to focus on the last couple of tracks, as they slightly off kilter with the rest of the album.
When track 10, “Beast of Burden (”Roll On” began, I had to double check to make sure the album hadn’t finished and a different album had begun. You see, the riff, well it is note for note, “Stargazer” by Rainbow, even the rhythm section is the same. What the fuck!
As ”Stargazer” is my favourite song of all time, this is really confusing. If I ever get chance to interview them, I know what my first question would be.
So we now move onto the last track, “Talk About Fishin’”. Which basically a fun Country folk /Bluegrass little number. It’s completely different than the rest of the album, but it’s a cool way to end what is an unbelievably good album.
Now I’m off to discover their back catalogue, there’s 5 more albums on Spotify, so there’s plenty to explore.
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