It Was Worth the 5-Year Wait for The Statesboro Revue’s ‘Ramble on Privilege Creek’ – CD Review
I've been a fan of The Statesboro Review for a few years now. Since I first listened to the Austin-based band's debut CD, 'Different Kind of Light' in 2008, I was hooked on their sound. Stewart Mann and his band brought to my ears a terrific blend of southern rock, country, soul, bluegrass and folk, delivered in a fashion that seemed so natural. Along with their growing fan base, I've waited patiently for a follow-up, and 'Ramble on Privilege Creek' is finally here. And there is zero letdown.
'Fade My Shade of Black' opens the new Statesboro album, and is the first radio single. It opens with acoustic guitar, then eases into a Waylon-like rhythm before Stewart Mann's signature soulful wailing takes over. I have no idea how they managed to fit not one, but two rocking guitar solos into a song that is under 3:00, and still manage to put the song to bed with a harmonica feature at the end.
'Huck Finn' is more of a 'pickers delight', as the title would suggest. Would you call this a musical 'period piece'? I'm not sure, but this less electric side of The Statesboro Revue puts me on a creek bank in the late 1800's, just as easily as Mark Twain himself was able to do in his novels. Credit to anyone who has enough marbles to make this song, much less put it on the front end of their album.
The soulful southern rock ballad, 'Cold November' is simple and stripped down at times, and offers the fullness of gospel choir-esque backing vocals. I love the stops in this song. If you let it, 'Cold November' can take you on an emotional ride.
Just when you think The Statesboro Review has covered all aspects of their sound, they hit you with 'Til I Leave'. This song hits you straight on. Like a White Stripes song, 'Til I Leave' is a successful attempt to get a lot of quality sound from few sources.
If you were to ask me what my favorite song on 'Privilege Creek', I would say it's 'Lil Mary's Last Stand', but I would begin my answer by saying "There's no wrong answer. They're all fantastic".
My first overall impression of 'Ramble on Privilege Creek' is that there has been vast improvement across the board. A great band actually got better, and I couldn't have imagined that was possible. The band takes producing credit for an album that sounds absolutely brilliant. I get the feeling that The Statesboro Review challenged themselves creatively, musically, and would not settle to have a single dud on the album. And what do you know...there ain't one.
There's so much musical talent in this band, it almost seems unfair. But talent doesn't create chemistry, or quality music for that matter. The Statesboro Review has it all, and it's made very clear with 'Ramble on Privilege Creek'. This album is great on all levels, and will be appreciated by music fans as well as their peers in the music industry. It goes without saying that it was more than worth the 5-year wait between CD's.
Track list for The Statesboro Revue's 'Ramble on Privilege Creek':
1. 'Fade My Shade of Black' (Stewart Mann)
2. 'Huck Finn' (Garrett Mann, S. Mann)
3. 'Cold November' (S. Mann)
4. 'Til I Leave' (Ben Bradshaw, G. Mann. S. Mann)
5. 'Half Mile to Lincoln' (S. Mann)
6. 'Live a Little' (S. Mann)
7. 'Lil Mary's Last Stand' (G. Mann, S. Mann)
8. 'Isabella' (G. Mann, S. Mann)
9. 'Another Day in Rome' (S. Mann)
10. 'Love Run Easy' (G. Mann, S. Mann)
11. 'Wildflower' (S. Mann)
12. 'Hands on the Sun' (R. Alton, S, Mann)