Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., May 29, 2009
Dustin WelchWhiskey Priest
Unlike Colin Gilmore and Justin Townes Earle, sons of famous songsmiths that developed their own sounds, there's more than a bit of his father, Kevin, in Dustin Welch's music. Anthemic or brooding, his songs share the same keen eye for detail, riding on the borders of country and getting to the guts of being alive. Whiskey Priest, Welch's debut, is noisier and harder edged than the work of his father, owing to roots-rock bands of the past, especially the jagged "Dirty Mind" and soaring "Heartbreak." Alternatively, there's an American Indian influence on the title track and a Celtic feel to "Green Badge." Welch is joined by a panoply of local musicians including Suzanna Choffel, Bukka Allen, Mickey Braun, Kacy Crowley, and even his dad on a couple of tracks. Songwriting is in Dustin Welch's blood, and, as Whiskey Priest exuberantly demonstrates, he isn't afraid to spill some when necessary.