Gideon Smith / Gideon Smith & the Dixie Damned

30 Weight

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30 Weight Review

by Eduardo Rivadavia

Last time listeners heard from Mr. Gideon Smith, on 2008's cleverly titled South Side of the Moon LP, he was lording over a particularly vast assortment of collaborators working under the by now familiar Dixie Damned banner...which is ironic since most of them reside in the Motor City. But hey, it worked pretty well anyway, so geography be damned! Released in 2011, 30 Weight boasts many of those same partners in crime, including guitarist Phil Durr (Big Chief, Five Horse Johnson, etc.), bassist Sue Lott (Slot, Luder), and producer Eric Hoegemeyer (Giant Brain), plus a few new ones, and features an equally varied musical smorgasbord. Just to give you a taste, there's the psychedelics-laced hard rock of "Black Fire," the focused classic rock punch of "Ride with Me," the Southern gothic-steeped "Love of the Vampire," the QOTSA-styled robo-groove of "Do Me Wrong," the ‘60s garage rocker "Come and Howl," a convincing outlaw country ballad in "When I Die," and a suitably dreary cover of Saint Vitus' "Bleed Black." Unfortunately, Smith himself occasionally lets down the rest of the team, when his acquired taste of an Evil Elvis croon leaves weaker, sometimes shoddy-sounding material like "South," "Born to the Highway," and "Shining Star" resembling limp-wristed Danzig. Nevertheless, 30 Weight still packs enough surprises and tantalizingly unhinged appeal to satisfy existing Gideon Smith acolytes, lovers of all things slightly perplexing, and fans of off the beaten path rock & roll.

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