Honey Slides

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Although hailing from Lafayette, Louisiana, the Bluerunners bring to mind the musical melting pot of New Orleans. On Honey Slides, they dish out rock, zydeco, blues, country, Cajun and jam band funk. But instead of sounding like a half-dozen different bands, they simply sound like one marvelous roots rock band ready and willing to play all night long. The disc opens with a zippy zydeco rave-up "Working Class Zydeco" before launching into the Los Lobos-like rocker "The Gravedigger." The Bluerunners have been described as a Bayou-version of Los Lobos, and one can hear the Lobos here in tunes like "Voodoo Mens and Voodoo Dolls" and "Kingsnake Crawl." However, it would be simplistic and inaccurate to view the Bluerunners as the Lobos' French-speaking cousins. "Walking and Sighing" turns on a dime from a Cajun waltz into a howling blues rocker that ventures into Led Zeppelin territory. "Ghost of Girl," an affectionate backporch ode about a woman who has "seen way too much world," has the laid-back charms of the Rolling Stones "Country Honk," and features guest vocals from Continental Drifter Susan Cowsill. Another strong cut is "I Got You," a jaunty Dylan-esque talking electric blues number. These three tunes form a terrific centerpiece trio that comes about midway through the nearly hour-long set, but they are surrounded by more colorful songs that show off the band's musical diversity. Helping to tie everything together is frontman Mark Meaux, the sole remaining original Bluerunner. Meaux, who plays guitar, mandolin and fiddle, as well as co-producing this disc, has a gruff but affable singing voice that fits his songs perfectly. Aiding him here are his equally talented and versatile bandmates. Adrian Huval mans the accordions, while stepping to the mic on a cover of Canray Fontenot's "Coulee Rodair" and his own "Lune de Minuit." William Lee Golden, who takes over lead vocals on a raw and raucous rendition of Jessie Mae Hemphill's "Black Cat Bone," provides nimble fretwork on the lap steel and National guitars, while drummer Frank Kincel and bassist John Stevenson hold down the spirited rhythm section. Filled with lively tunes, boisterous playing and a French Quarter joie de vivre, the Bluerunners have made a disc, their fifth album, that's a truly winning outing.

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