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Moot Davis

Goin' In Hot – 2014 (Crow Town)

Reviewed by Henry L. Carrigan Jr.

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CDs by Moot Davis

New Jersey native Moot Davis survived several trials by fire to make this album: a few days after the songs were mixed, the studio where he recorded the album burned down; he made the record while recovering from the end of a longtime relationship. Lucky for us, engineer Joe McMahan was able to save the mixes. With this album, Davis and band mate and bassist Michael Massimino (The Good Americans) also joined forces to create the label Crow Town Records.

Blending and bending licks and riffs from The Stones and Yoakam, the title track jumps right out of the grooves with driving guitars and ingenious Beach Boys-like backing vocals on the bridge. The raucous music perfectly carries along the don't-give-a-damn message of the lyrics. Gary Morse's scampering steel guitar kicks off "Food Stamps" with that lilting sound that Sneaky Pete Kleinow wove through every song by the Flying Burrito Brothers; in fact, if we didn't know better, we'd think we're listening here to a version of "Hot Burrito #1," but with the tongue-in-cheek lyrics - "living on food stamps and four bottles of two-dollar wine" - of the Bottle Rockets or Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen. In a sorrowful ballad that plays off the Stones' "Dead Flowers," "Used to Call It Love," producer/guitarist Kenny Vaughan, lead guitarist Bill Corvino and Morse weave achingly gorgeous licks around one another as the singer reflects on the hope at the beginning of a relationship and the bereft feeling of its end. "Midnight Train" chugs along like a classic Johnny Cash song strung out on up tempo blues guitars, while Nikki Lane lends her high lonesome, almost dreamy- and dream-like - harmony vocals to the mournful "Hurtin' for Real", a ballad with an early Sixties pop flavor and Corvino's Dick Dale-like licks. "Ragman's Roll" quite simply boils over with scalding rock and roll; if this song doesn't propel you out of your chair to the dance floor, you're not alive.

Here's the thing: if Keith Richards, Raul Malo and Dwight Yoakam had a love child, it would be Moot Davis. Davis delivers an album that might better have titled "Goin' in Scorching." Corvino's and Vaughan's guitars, combined with Davis's searing lyrics and his blistering voice, burn down every roadhouse in sight.