||WHISKEY MYERS BRING GRITTY TEXAS AUTHENTICITY TO GLASGOW
St Luke's, Glasgow, 6th December 2016
Words: Ian Sutherland
Whiskey Myers are a long way from home but that doesn't seem to matter. Now a seven piece band, the up and coming southern rockers are squeezed onto the stage of a venue located inside an old church with the pipes of the organ which used to make all the music around here rising above their backdrop.
The setting may be incongruous but the warmth emanating from the sold out crowd right from the start is genuine and heartfelt, a response that this band of musical brothers have earned the hard way, writing songs baked in the truth of their red dirt Texas background and then getting on the road to share them with the world.
Tonight is the last date of a UK tour and it is obvious from a few bars into opening song 'Early Morning Shakes' that this is a band in a touring groove, in that zone which only endless trips across continents can create where seven individuals perform as a unit, a group of individual musicians seamlessly synching together and creating something special. The song grooves and grows and straddles that country yet rock style that is all their own. One part Skynyrd, one part Black Crowes but all soaked through with gritty Whiskey Myers Texas authenticity and they can even stretch things out Allman brothers style while retaining the core integrity of the song.
Frontman and singer Cody Cannon is the epitome of southern cool, totally laid back between songs, chatting away in that southern drawl yet conveying all the passion and emotion you could want from a singer in their stories of life seen through the prism of an East Texas upbringing. 'Frogman', co-written with the Black Crowes' Rich Robinson, lets him empathise with a Navy Seal far from home through a song full of dirty rock'n'roll guitar licks while 'Trailer We Call Home' shows that stripped right down to acoustic guitar, fiddle and vocal there is still that emotional grit which gives them an edge and underpins everything they do.
Being a fan of the old southern bands myself I can't help but raise a smile when they move into three guitar mode and really let the rock part of their sound out and show how powerful they can be. They have a huge sound for any kind of band and maybe even put too much of a heavy edge on a couple of songs, losing the subtlety and little flavours they can bring to a tune but maybe that just shows their versatility.
Recent full time addition to the band after playing live with them for some time, Jon Knudson adds keyboards, fiddle and some fine sax playing to fill out the sound allowing them to add little touches of bluegrass and soul into a sound which encompasses many genres yet sounds typical of none.
Much of the set tonight is culled from their latest album 'Mud' but it's great to see that songs like 'On The River' and 'Stone' go down just as well with the enthusiastic crowd as old favourites like their Whiskey'd up cover of The White stripes' 'Seven Nation Army' or the classic southern rock of 'Ballad Of A Southern Man'. That's always a sign of a band on the rise.
Tonight's show ended after a glorious , groovy extended version of 'How Far' left both band and crowd hot, sweaty and satisfied. For one night an old church hall in Glasgow had become a little part of Texas and job done these sons of the south headed off for a couple of days rest before getting on the touring bus again in the USA. These guys are real road warriors and deserve any success they get.
As tonight's audience filed out of the venue they were reflecting on an astonishingly good band and a performance that many were looking at as a late contender for gig of the year. This band are already planning a return to the UK in 2017 in bigger venues. Catch them if you possibly can.