Dodgy Mountain Men – Stronger Than Death (Independent)
Montana based Dodgy Mountain Men have a fearsome live reputation, with a couple of national tours under their collective belt. They’re also a regular attraction at Americana festivals, in and around their home state, where their energetic brand of homegrown stompgrass is guaranteed to get folks moving. It’s not always a given that a band like the Dodgy Mountain Men can transfer their exuberance and sheer joie de vivre into a studio environment, but it doesn’t seemed to have posed too many problems. “Stronger Than Death” is a collection of big songs performed with genuine enthusiasm, and when it’s turned up, the temptation is to jump about in much the same way as the average festival attendee.
Here they break cover with “Down That Road”, and their ramshackle, good time charm becoming obvious all at once. They’re not too polished, thank goodness, but the sound is excellent (the record was produced by Brandon Zimmer) and they consistently play to their many strengths. On “Simple Man's Blues” they’re not unlike Tom Waits fronting the Hokum Jug Band and on the death rattle country blues of “Sleep When I'm Dead”, which includes Zimmer on djembe and some fine call and response vocals courtesy of dual vocalists Eric Boss and Jed Nussbaum, they up the pace a notch and demand some sort of sing-a-long rejoinder. Obviously rooted in traditional mountain music, it’s worth noting that every song on the album is an original composition. Hope we get to see them in the UK soon.