Review – The Ragged Jubilee – American Moan
Ok, where to begin with this review? Well for starters I have to blame The Black Keys for finding The Ragged Jubilee. I stumbled upon a forum that had a thread about like sounding bands. While I can’t say they sound like The Black Keys, the blues rock style is where they compare. It’s also where that comparison stops.
American Moan is a blues rock album at heart but what sets them apart is the deep (and I mean deep) country roots. You could probably call American Moan a country rock album, hell I do. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s anything like what Hank III puts out as it’s less hardcore. The vocals are somewhat of mix between Tom Waits and Jim Morrison. They are deep and very powerful.
The album begins with a foot stomping number called “Blood on The Highway” that is very deep and powerful. “High Horse” is more of a classic rock song in terms of style but still has all the country elements. “Miss Me When I’m Gone” is next. The song is a much more slower song with some really deep and powerful lyrics. My favorite song on the album has to be the awesome “Country Girl” which begins with vocalist Ethan Burns deep and grizzly voice mixed with awesome electric and acoustic guitars. The breakdown towards the end topped off with Mr. Burns howling “Country Girl” make for (me anyways) and epic song. “Country Girl is followed with “Shelter in the Mainline” which is a much more slower song. The harmonica throughout gives the song a some what Neil Young flavor when Neil does his more country sounding songs. The whole tone of the song has that “it’s an important song that can define a moment for you and burn it into your memory forever” in it. The end song “Rhythm” is where Mr. Burns’ Jim Morrison sound really shines. This is the voice that could cover a Doors song and would confuse people as to if it was legit. The organ played on it could pass for Ray Manzarek playing. This is one fine blues rock tune which also sadly ends the entire album.
The Ragged Jubilee are one of those crossover genre bands. They can be appealing to both classic/retro/blues rock fans but are just as appealing to fans of country music. The sound is simply amazing. From what I gather, American Moan took awhile to be released due to some outside issues but it finally came out. It been released for almost a year now. After listening to it almost non stop for a week now, I wish I had waited to do my top 20 list. American Moan would be bumping someone off that list. Christopher Walkins once said “Needs More Cowbell.’ Well Mr. Walkins, American Moan has that cowbell. Currently American Moan is only available in MP3 form from Amazon, CDBaby and iTunes. No word yet on physical copies but I’m sure they would if there’s enough demand. Listen to “Country Girl” below an let me know your thoughts.