Gulf Coast Museum (Nine Mile)
Reviewed by Margaret Moser, Fri., May 24, 2013
ShinyribsGulf Coast Museum (Nine Mile)
Despite prolific output with the Gourds over the past two decades, co-frontman Kevin Russell deserves to have the term "side project" dropped from his other local group given the merits of Gulf Coast Museum. That's a dodgy phrase anyway, since Shinyribs remains more akin to Russell's musical alter ego. The LP title nods to the veteran singer-songwriter's East Texas roots, and he deftly dances around Gulf Coast genres in nine lean songs with no clinkers. They're a Louisiana road-trip soundtrack, like the unrepentant "Take Me Lake Charles," and a couple of long-known but unrecorded audience favorites, "Bolshevik Sugarcane" and "Sweet Potato," all written with Russell's hardscrabble poesy. He closes with Harold Melvin's "If You Don't Know Me By Now" and ukes it up to an unexpectedly tender level with Brandy Zdan. It feels like the last dance at a high school reunion and it leaves Gulf Coast Museum lingering like a soft breeze on a humid summer night.