Austin, Texas’ The Gourds register a knockout blow with the charming roots rocking revue entitled Haymaker!
The group has been making records for over a decade, and Haymaker! ranks among their best. That’s fine company when considering the wide range of output, from the deep punk country flavorings of 1997’s Dem’s Good Beeble to the dramatic tension running through 2004’s Blood of the Ram to the critical breakthroughs on 2007’s Noble Creatures.
Sounding at times like John Hiatt fronting BeauSoleil, The Gourds benefit from the banjo and fiddle work of Max Johnston mixed with Kevin Russell and Jimmy Smith’s sizzling guitar lines. Russell and Smith’s down and dirty compositional framework enable tunes like "The Way You Can Get," "New Dues" and "Fossil Contender" to fill with enough hooks that remain in the brain after each successive listen. Accordionist Claude Bernard peppers "Country Love" with ample amounts of Cajun spice, leaving beaming smiles on any Gourds aficionado’s faces as their toes keeping tapping through Haymaker’s torrid hoedown.
The reverential country rhythms of "Valentine" are reason enough to pick up Haymaker! and indulge in the alternative vibrations of one of Austin’s best bands.
Haymaker! is out now on Yep Roc.