Blow Your Mind

Eve & the Exiles reshape Texas blues

Blow Your Mind

It’s a little premature to start putting top 10 lists from 2008 in order, but the local releases this year have been absolutely stellar. I can’t remember the last time I had so many recent CDs from local bands sitting on my desk being played week after week.

Suspects most likely to end up on my year-end list include Dan Dyer, the Petals, Alejandro Escovedo, 3 Balls of Fire, and Grupo Fantasma, but if Eve & the ExilesBlow Your Mind were vinyl, it would have been sitting on my turntable for a couple of weeks.

The smartest thing Eve Monsees did with this record was sequence her originals as the three opening songs. Not only does it set the tone for her blue suede blues, it serves notice that the Exiles are one of the finest working bands around. Their musical sensibility is defined by the Texas roots all five members boast but the addition of Donna Pearl and Homer Henderson to the Exiles is what Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks brought to Fleetwood Mac when they joined in 1975: a secondary male-female dynamic. Monsees throws down her street-girl vocals on Doug Sahm’s “I Don’t Want” with smoldering sensuality and her guitar playing is sublime but former Naughty Ones’ shadow dancer Donna Pearl weaves her own hypnotic allure on “Starvation” and “I’ll Come to You.”

Blow Your Mind did just that for me. Not because it’s reshaping the envelope but because drummer Mike Buck, bassist Pat Collins, and guitarist Homer Henderson repackage their collective experience and knowledge of Texas musical arcana into the Exiles’ potent sound.

Henderson will be among the first inductees when they start a Texas Badass Guitar Hall of Fame; until then, he’s just one of the wickedest six-stringers around. Buck is a master of the Texas shuffle, a style he laid down even before the years he spent in the LeRoi Brothers with Collins. And it’s Collins’ bass that delivers the Exiles’ down-in-the-diddy-wah-diddy sound. Not a clinker in the 14 songs, all made for driving just a little too fast down the highway. Catch them Saturday at Guero's.

Now, if the Dead Pyrates Society get their tough-boy rock on record, I’ll be a happy girl.

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