If there was ever a doubt that there’s a punk rock flag flying high at the crossroads of American music, the Colonel J.D. Wilkes and his Legendary Shack Shakers can tell you exactly where it stands. In fact, Wilkes will yell it from the pulpit; his band planted the flag there and then drew a winding map over the course of a handful of albums, leading you to that very place in the rugged south; through fields of country and western, over gravel roads littered with rockabilly, and past creaking back porches of blues. And that route has now arrived at the Shack Shakers sixth release, Agridustrial.
Notorious for incendiary live performances, Agridustrial finds the Nashville quartet tempering the reverend with the outrageous, the learned with the reckless. Despite the bristling compositions, the tone is polished, unearthing a more mature Shack Shakers than on previous releases. But maturity is apparent in the production, rather than the bombast; the quartet is alight with the exhaust-pipe harmonica rattle that propels “Sin Eater,” “God Fearing People” and its bastardized gospel, and the chain-gang chant of “Hammer and Tongs."
Legendary Shack Shakers not only encapsulate the rich history of American music, but they channel it with punk vigor. Agridustrial is too loud to be ignored, and the influences that thread the Shack Shakers’ compositions are too strong to die.
Agridustrial is out now on Colonel Knowledge Records.