I’m a Sweetwater Hillbilly is a timeless track that ties together guitars, drums, soulful vocals and flutes. This introductory single to the latest Sweetwater Hillbillies album, Take Me to the Mardi Gras, present fans with a brief taste of what they will experience over the following 13 tracks.
Alabama Hippie is a similarly-dense track. The bouncing beat of the track calls back to the country & western of the 1970s, while there are hints of blues and gospel that bubble up at points. The track reaches its zenith when the instrumentation drops and listeners are presented some of the most honest and earnest vocal performances that they have ever heard. The narrative that is crafted during Hey Superstar is fantastic, with the act crafting a dense and detailed story that is reminiscent of Bob Seger’s Turn the Page or Meatloaf’s Paradise by the Dashboard Light.
The titular effort on Take Me to the Mardi Gras is a joyful, fun track that will appease fans of 1950s blues, 1990s country, or even of timeless performers like Jimmy Buffett and Billy Joel. Shane and Jo Jo furthers the early 1990s country sound of The Sweetwater Hillbillies; the lush production during this track allows each of the distinct elements encountered during this single the ability to shine alone or as contributing to the larger sound.
To See My Pearl will tattoo its harmonies deep into listeners’ minds, while With the Rodeo looks back to the early American experience. The slower tempo is truly beautiful, the resulting track a wonderful work that is a pinnacle of the later part of the album.
Don’t Give Up On Me is the concluding effort on Take Me to the Mardi Gras, ending the album with the same reverence for the storied New Orleans musical tradition that has been a cornerstone of music for 100 years.
The Sweetwater Hillbillies Take Me to the Mardi Gras CD Review / 2016 Merrimack Records / 15 Tracks / http://www.merrimackrecords.us