By Eileen Tilson
Known for their ability to shake redneck country, punk, and hillbilly blues into a whiskey-infused shot of sin, Nashville-based Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers are back with their release of Agridustrial on their own Colonel Knowledge Records. The band comes back guns blazing with just a few changes in the family, including new guitarist Duane Denison (Hank III, Jesus Lizard) playing with the same force of his predecessors and new drummer Brett Whitacre pounding away at his drum kit like he is trying to put out the fire. It is singer Colonel J.D. Wilkes’ snarling voice though, that remains the familiar manic friend along with longtime bassist, Mark Robertson who helps create the mayhem the Shack Shakers have always been known to cause.
The 16-track album opens with garbage compacting noises, before jumping into a more familiar sound with the most obvious single “Sin Eater,” a hard-rocking, bluesy, chainsaw-like song with Wilkes primal yell calling, “Feed the ego, when you starve the soul.” Although the record is apparently their “political” album, the music has not fallen far from their tree with songs like “Two Tickets to Hell” and the swing tune “Hoboes are my Heroes” clanging away at the banjo. In true Shack Shaker style, “Hammer and Tongs” uses metal-working metaphors to describe a night of raunchy sex. Perhaps the most serious of the songs, “The Lost Cause” is an anti-war ballad painting a picture of skeletons marching home from the war they lost.
The Shack Shakers have been destroying stages around the country for years, and are not showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. In a time, when every American band feels the need to tell the world about their emotions or their addiction to Adderall, Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers are still slapping you in the face with tunes that make you feel like their lives depended on them. Their punk infused hillbilly blues will still shock your missus, and make you want to hang with your favorite “J” friends, Jack, Johnny, and Jim.
Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers play The EARL on May 8.