Not to be confused with jazz critic Gary Giddens, Jerry Giddens is an excellent but obscure roots rocker who recorded for Mountain Railroad in the late 1980s and Doctor Dream in the '90s. One of his Doctor Dream releases was The Devil's Front Door, which brings to mind such storytellers as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and John Cougar Mellencamp, but lets us know that Giddens is very much his own man. Though the CD includes an inspired cover of Leadbelly's "Goodnight Irene," most of the earthy, unpretentious songs were written or co-written by Giddens who, like Springsteen and Mellencamp, is a fine storyteller who really knows how to bring his tales to life. Indeed, anyone who has savored Cougar's "Jack and Diane" will also appreciate Giddens' "Spooky and Skeeter," and those who've cherished the blue-collar imagery of Springsteen gems like "Darkness on the Edge of Town," "Darlington County," and "Jersey Girl" will find "Out of Dallas" and "A Million to One" impossible to resist. Guitarist Dave Alvin of Blasters and X fame is prominently featured on this album, which lovers of roots rock and Americana should make a point of searching for.
The Devil's Front Door Review
by Alex Henderson