Tuesday, July 31

Album Review: The Dodgy Mountain Men - Stronger Than Death - 2012

Dodgy Mountain Men 
Stronger Than Death
Self-Released
2012

I have to admit out of the gate that I was dragging my feet on this review for awhile. I’m not a huge fan of this new Americana sound. With bands like the Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons becoming so popular, the field has been cluttered with less-talented versions of these two bands.  I’m happy to say that the Dodgy Mountain Men play with a freshness and vitality that took me by surprise. Instrumentally, they are top-notch.  The energetic interplay between the guitar and the mandolin is reminiscent of some of the Grisman & Garcia work that I hold dear.  The stomping of “Sleep When I’m Dead” and “Hell through a Bullet Hole” are examples of tracks that seem limitless in live setting, yet can only take you so far when laid down in the studio.  The attack on each song is a breath of fresh air that belie the youth of a band still in love with their craft. And since this is the first I've been able to listen to the Dodgy Mountain Men I would imagine that these songs take on a bigger profile when performed live.  I’m not in love with the vocal work.  It sounds a little strained but technically, the singers are on.  I also feel that lyrically, there is some room for improvement. This is the case with all bands, though. The one constant throughout is a unique rythm section that is rare when dealing with this form of Americana. The Tablas add an overall exotic feel to an otherwise down and dirty rock and roll vibe.  And the rolling bass lines play through each song as a thread holding a stitch together.  I feel that it is a solid effort from a band on the rise. I would really like to see these guys live, though. It sounds as if they are more in their element in a bar than a studio. I don’t know the history of these songs so I don’t know how old they are but a little polish here and there wouldn’t hurt. Overall, this is a good snapshot of this band. It’s not great, but all the pieces are there. This band is poised to make a name for themselves and I think a little more time on the road will do these boys some good.  I might not buy a CD but I will definitely buy a ticket to the show. 
After returning from a Mid-West and East-Coast tour The Dodgy Mountain Men returned to Montana for the Summer for a slew of gigs before they head out to the Pac North-West Coast and embark on a full West Coast Tour.  They Eric Bostrom on his Git, Jed Nussbaum on Mando an Electric guitar, Scott Howard on Bass and Clyde Netzley on the Tablas.  You can get a copy of their album Stronger Than Death in downtown Missoula- Out To Lunch in Caras Park on Aug 8th or at any of their other upcoming shows.
Words: Greg Heffelfinger
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