Bluegrass Catastrophe: Comforting As Worn Leather

Album Review - The Gourds /Old Mad Joy
By Christina Walker Davidson
November 17, 2011

Recorded in Levon Helm’s studio barn, Old Mad Joy eagerly conveys the tradition of classic roots rock and gritty country jams. Not that the fans of The Gourds would expect anything else; the band has proved themselves over and over since forming in Austin, Texas, back in 1994. This release contains many fine tunes penned recently; however, they feel as broken in and comforting as worn leather. “Two Sparrows” and “Marginalized” are slow-burning jams that linger and build in all the right places. Despite lyrics that aren’t entirely coherent, the musicianship and delivery is strong and contains flourishes of fiddle and cowbell to keep the spirit of Old Mad Joy alive. The only selection that feels out of place is “Drop the Charges,” which contains a rather annoying hook that hopefully sounds much better in a live performance. However, if you plan on having a rollicking good time at any party this year, including some of Old Mad Joy on your playlist will serve you well.

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