by Al Kaufman
Most Southern rock strictly abides by the GAG order; "GAG" standing for God, Alcohol, and Girls. On 90 Proof Lullabies, Connor Christian mostly abides by the rules, especially when it comes to the two "G"s.
Christian and company are at their best when they adopt the Southern fried swagger of the Black Crowes, as they do on "It’s Alright" and "3 Times" ("You better give it to me three times before you hit that door."). They also aren’t afraid to take on the role of hippie jam band, such as on "Sunday Suit" and "Meet My Angel," where they play a sort of cross betwen Widespread Panic and Country Joe McDonald. They even cover Brewer and Shipley’s ’70s stoner anthem, "One Toke Over the Line."
Christian has written an anthem of his own, "Chipping Away," about the little guy fighting to get what’s his. In the shout along chorus, in which everyone sings, "We won’t stop ’til we’ve each one the day," it is easy to imagine a group of guys at the bar with their pints raised. It’s great stuff.
Occasionally, the CD slips into pablum, which may have to do with producer Jeff Tomei, who turned the knobs for generic rockers Matchbox 20. "Midnight Moon" sounds like a Matchbox 20 throwaway, and the horribly sensitive ballad, "Groundhog," must only be on there to make everything else look all the better by comparison. This CD is not exactly 90 proof, but it sure goes down well with a couple of cold ones.
Connor Christian and the Southern Gothic play the Star Bar on Friday, Sept. 19th, as part of the Atlantis Music Conference. Midnight. Connor Christian next plays Smiths Olde Bar on October 3rd (find tickets)