I always prefer my roots music ragged, and so anything described as “frenetic bluegrass, ” or “apocalyptic Americana” is always going to be something that I’m going to be drawn to. Roots music is the music of the people, the working classes, those who have to make their own entertainment and whether you are playing gypsy jazz music in Eastern Europe, keeping the traditions of rural China alive or in the case of these splendid fellows, punking up Appalachian folk music, the ethic is the same. This is about keeping something alive and delivering it in the manner it was intended, raw, unpolished and full of authentic spirit.
And unlike many modern bands who seem to merely be adopting the sounds of the past for commercial gain, Some Part of Something is a real celebration of times past, a remembrance but more than anything it’s a party. And it is for that reason that their live shows are famous for their raucous and riotous flavours. It’s always hard to capture that live energy in studio form but this album is the perfect calling card for that, you just need to imagine the band barefooted, often bare-chested, sweat-soaked and beer drenched leading the audience through the songs as if this was the last party before the apocalypse.
What you do get from the album is the quality of the playing and the deftness of the songwriting, five albums in and they are certainly hitting a stride that most of their peers would find it hard to keep up with. No Pity in the Rose City is a clattering, cow-punk onslaught and Reckless is a dystopian hoe-down but it isn’t all one long blind, headlong musical charge for the bar and songs such as Southern Sisyphus’s slower pace reveals the brilliance of the playing that actually fuels their music and Long Gone tips its battered hat to the more traditional country forms coming on like the sound track to a gothic western TV series that never was.
Whiskey Shivers are the perfect storm of bluegrass themes and punk rock energy, social commentary and humorous asides, ragged party music and exquisite playing. If anyone tells you that they don’t like country music and its ilk, then just play them this album. If they aren’t an instant convert then cut them out of your life, no one needs that sort of narrow mindedness and negativity around them.