REVIEW: Whiskey Riders – “1865”

Whiskey Riders

Our city is home to an eclectic mix of musicians and bands. It’s part of what makes Louisville both weird and great and It’s certainly one of the reasons I adore this town. Sometimes in that quest for uniqueness as a musician it’s easy to forget about the tried and true sounds that we grew up on. I was raised on a lot of southern rock like CCR and The Band, the latter being one of the biggest influences on me as a musician and band mate. The Whiskey Riders album 1865 is full of sounds reminiscent of these great southern rock artists of the 60’s and 70’s.

Something about their southern rock sound is able to ride the line of whimsical and serious at the same time. It’s serious fun as the slow catchy riffs from the banjo and lyrics that aren’t meant to go over your head contribute to the cheerfulness of the album. The seriousness is in the overall quality, the electric bass, and the full drum kit. While we’re talking about the quality, the recording has a live vibe that lends itself perfectly to their sound. If you close your eyes, you wouldn’t know that this album came out recently.

1865 starts with The Whiskey Riders at their best on the track “Shine On” featuring a catchy swamp rock banjo riff and a harmonized hook that makes you want to get high and watch “Dazed and Confused.”

“Castle” is another track with a swamp rock vibe. It stands out with the way the vocals are traded back and forth between two people. This song is reminiscent of Goose Creek Symphony. It’s feel good southern music and The Whiskey Riders are great at it.

The heaviest and maybe the catchiest song on 1865 is “Harlan Blues (River Made of Stone)”.  As the title suggests, this song is a blues jam. When the group starts chanting “run boy, far from Harlan…” it has the old “possessed by the devil” delta blues feel.

1865 is a quality southern rock release from The Whiskey Riders. If southern rock, blues, or even bluegrass influenced music tickles your pickle then I highly suggest getting your grubby little paws on this album. Then you can pick up a case of beer, light up your fire-pit and enjoy yourself.

Listen to “Shine On” below via Spotify: