There is more to Portland than the indie style and cool kid vibe lampooned on the hit comedy Portlandia. In fact, under the surface, things are pretty rough-and-tumble, both in life and in music.
Michael Dean Damronâ€™s long running outfit I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House is just one example, and the hard-driving sextet bares bloody knuckles on Mayberry. Amid gritty guitars and runaway train harp, Damron longs for the untarnished olden days on the title track, and acknowledges the immanence of death on this and a handful more, like â€œLiarsâ€ and â€œDead By Christmas Time.â€ Through it all, one thing is clear: Damron isnâ€™t scared.
A lot of Mayberry is what you would expect from the group of hardened veterans. The rock-and-raunch sound is like a burnout at a bike rally, and Damron unflinchingly acknowledges his weaknesses and demons. But this is an older Michael Dean, one who has turned wily rebellion into laser-focused protest. No, he doesnâ€™t like what he sees, and his well-oiled lyrics offer hard-won observations that are as prickly as they are wise.
According to Damron, Mayberry â€“ the Andy Griffith vision of an idyllic, innocent town and lifestyle â€“ â€œâ€¦ is all dead and gone.â€ Itâ€™s a sad truth, but it is an image that serves I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In the House quite well on yet another stellar release.
Mayberry is out now and available through CDBaby.