Monday, November 2, 2009
Wrinkle Neck Mules - Let the Lead Fly
With the release of their fourth album the Wrinkle Neck Mules have established themselves as one of the premier roots rock bands. Let the Lead Fly is a bit less electric but rocks just as hard. With the use of banjo, mandolin and pedal steel, the roots move to the forefront on this release. As usual the band tells stories of the people on the margins of society. The poignant vignettes are especially effective at a time when the margins of society are growing However, this is not an album about sorrow and despair. As they say on the title cut, “Don’t just stand there raise, your guns and let lead fly.” Instrumentally the linchpin that brings the traditional and the electric rock together is “Medicine Bow.” This song stands in contrast to “The Waters all Run Dry,” which would have been a country standard if it had been recorded in the 40’s or 50’s.
The band has two members that contribute lead vocals and each gives the band a different feel. Andy Stepanian has a raw, edgy voice. Mason Brent has a smoother voice that gives a folksier feel. To put it in terms of bourbon it is like Old Grand Dad versus Basil Hayden. However, either one can result in a good time. This two singer, two style concept has a direct correlation to the Drive-by Truckers. The formula works pretty well for both the Truckers and the Mules. The comparison to the Truckers is not entirely fair given the depth of the Truckers catalogue. However, after four albums the Wrinkle Neck Mules have firmly established themselves. They seem to be here to stay and getting better. If you haven’t listened to them yet it is time for you to Let the Lead Fly.
Sample Title Cut