ReviewShine Wednesday: Shinyribs and Wynntown Marshals

Every Wednesday, I feature a quick review of at least one album that has been submitted to me through the ReviewShine website. I have cleverly titled this recurring segment “ReviewShine Wednesday.”

When I clicked on the sample track for the album Well After a While by an artist from Austin, TX named Shinyribs, I was a little taken aback. I was pretty sure I had never heard of Shinyribs before, but the voice I was hearing was certainly a familiar one. It unmistakably belonged to Gourds frontman Kevin Russell. I was a tad confused. As it turns out though, Russell is Shinyribs, and Shinyribs is Russell. The face of The Gourds was stepping out with a solo project on the side.

The album is due out next week, and is billed as showcasing Russell’s more serious side. There are no country hip-hop covers like the “Gin & Juice” tribute that put The Gourds on the map over a decade ago. The only cover here is stripped down and somber version of Sam Cooke’s “Change is Gonna Come.” In fact, Russell plays it straight on most of the record by combining thoughtful lyrics with loping country grooves to great effect. Russell still has a playful side too… as evidenced by songs such as the ode to his favorite frosty beverage, “Country Cool,” and the dollar store rag, “Poor People’s Store.”
Shinyribs: Who Built the Moon (Buy Album)

Today’s second act comes to us all the way from Edinburgh, Scotland but creates a sound that is pure Americana (not that there is any real geographic distinction inherent in that word anyway). The Wynntown Marshals are composed of vocalist/guitarist Keith Benzie, drummer Keith Jones, steel guitar player Iain Sloan, lead guitarist Iain Barbour, backing players Simon Ritson (bass) and Ali Petrie (keys), and an obvious love for a classic alt-country sound. The band readily admits its debt to acts such as Neil Young, The Jayhawks, and Uncle Tupelo, and I’m not the only blogger to notice Benzie’s vocal similarities to Jeff Tweedy.

The album begins with the one/two punch of the guitar drenched original “You Can Have My Heart” and a countrified cover of LA Guns’ “Ballad of Jayne.” Things stay strong from there with songs about the world’s only albino gorilla (“Snowflake”), an unfortunate Greyhound trip (“48 Hours”), and American pin-up artist Gil Elvgren (“Gil”). Each song is built around strong country/rock grooves with plenty of twang… a strong album from start to finish. It’s scary to think that this is just The Wynntown Marshals’ debut release.
Wynntown Marshalls: 48 Hours (Buy Album)

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