Cool Black Dreams, Late Night Schemes (Bloodchili Records)
Reviewed by Tim Stegall, Fri., May 16, 2014
After years as both the garage blues-bashin' Chili Cold Blood and more countrified Moonhangers, this gritty local trio decided guitarist/vocalist Doug Strahan should go solo – with the same supporting cast: Ethan Shaw engineering and playing bass, steel guitar, and banjo, and Matt Puryear on drums. Gone "solo," Strahan revives the lonesome, orn'ry spirit of outlaw country, only this strain owes as much to Gram Parsons and the Flying Burrito Brothers as Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. Opener "Good Crosswinds," an electric, piano-drenched gospel ballad about love and alcohol that contributes the album's title, snakes crunchy blues like a cobra on absinthe, while "I'll Make It Rain" finds the frontman's Waylon-esque phase-shifted rhythm guitar underpinned by disco drums. In between there's pure mountain music ("So Damn Tired"), even some Stonesy rockin' ("Keep It on the Record"). Waylon wouldn't have done it this way, but he'd have approved.