Bill Leverty – Deep South
(Leverty Music – 2009)
An album that sees Bill head down to Dixieland on an album that he has done all the instruments and vocals for himself, apart from the one well-known ditty which is a male/female duet.
Like his influencing cover album 'Drive', it features an array of both familiar and not so obvious songs which makes the release far more interesting than your atypical 'n' generic Americana-By-Numbers throw it out to the mass ten a penny product.
Another thing that really impresesed me is that he has created his own personal interpretations of some of the songs such as the opening 'Boll Weevil', a standard from the 1920's & 1930's as recorded by Lead Belly in 1934 has a mysterious allure with industrial voice effects and sounds hauntingly incredible. There's a grand take of the traditional standard 'Man Of Constant Sorrow' (recorded in 1913 originally by Dick Burnett) with some off key wild harp to it that'll no no doubt drive perfectionists loopy – hahaha.
Then there's the rambling country road groove of 'Nine Hundred Miles' (by Philip E. Silvey) or the Gospel Tinged 'Trouble So Hard' (written and released by Vera Hall 1937) where Mr. L nails it with the ambience, then rocks up the famous 'Wade In The Water that was originally recorded by the Fisk Jubilee Singers in 1901 and written by John Wesley Work II and his brother, Frederick J. Work.
It closes with the spiritual and countryesque 'Walk Beside Me' that has some nifty, rich 'n' sweet sounding acoustic guitar soloing and rhythm work which is actually the youngest song in the pack, since it was written in 2000 by Darrell Scott & Tim O'Brien and showing that if you have the right style and ambience you can create something that matches standards from many yesteryears ago...
I'll be playing this again and again – would love to hear a sequel which will no doubt match it since there is so much to choose from in the catalogue.
By Glenn Milligan