I will admit that while I am a music enthusiast, when it comes to Rock music I can be a bit picky. Since it is not my main or even in my top five genres, it takes a lot to make me want to just chill out and listen to a rock record. I usually enjoy myself at a rock show much more than sitting at home listening to the albums. To clarify, I am not speaking of psychedelic or progressive rock from the 60s-70s or the grunge stuff from the 90s, you guys are great, don’t ever change. I’m mostly speaking to the cookie cutter blahzay blahzay type of rock and/or roll music of today’s industry. Everyone sounds the same and nobody takes any risks, the song writing, as a rule, is boring and the music is devoid of funk and soul. However, like anything in this newer generation of music, if you get beneath the surface and dig around in the mucky filth that is the underground excellent music can be found. The underground is a place where organic music is still made and refreshing ear nuggets packed full of essential melodic nutrients are plentiful. Enter the Swamp Babies, a trio of musicians from Jackson, Mississippi consisting of husband and wife Josh (guitar) and Ruth Taylor (bass) as well as Ryan Baccum on the drums. Their debut album Up High From Way Down Here is available now from Elegant Trainwreck Records.
My introduction to the Swamp Babies was on a sampler for Elegant Trainwreck / Homework Town Records One Year Anniversary party, which I missed by like a week. Their song “Heavy Hearts & Bare Tires” was featured. My interests were certainly peaked. Sonically I was hooked, it had what most Rock songs lack for me. It had soul. Josh’s sound is very Bob Dylan post vocal coaching from some alternate Marvel style universe where people can actually understand what Bob was saying, with just a dash of Petty thrown into the mix. Do not get my confused, I am not saying that Josh sounds like Bob, but his voice and song writing conjures up images of Mr. Dylan. Let’s be honest, if you’re going to be compared to someone there are far worse right?
With the release of their album, my interests were peaked. From the opening riff on “Mean As A Mockingbird”, my attention was grabbed. Like something unholy, or holy if you prefer, had reached through the speakers and grabbed me by my frontal lobe and refused to release me until the contents of the album had been spilled all over my mushy brain matter. By the way, harmonica solo on the lead track, see Dylan reference again. With each passing song, the group seems to break free from the last only to instantly fall into the next pocket. Musically the album flows fluidly, which allows for Josh’s song writing to take center stage where it belongs. A good songwriter is able to capture their audience by painting vivid pictures with their words. A great songwriter is able to transport the listener to where ever they want in an instant, they do not just evoke emotions they transfer them through the airwaves. Whether they transport you into the house of the musician as he sings about the exploits of his beloved best friend (A Good Girl Is Hard To Find) or they draw inspiration from what seems like your own life’s trouble and let you know everything is going to be okay (Tomorrow’s Gonna Be A Real Good Day).
All and all, Up High From Way Down Here is 8 very solid tracks that should make any group proud of their debut effort. It keeps the listener (ME), wanting more. As soon as the album is finished your automatically start the countdown to the next one. Not because you will not be listening to this on repeat for months on end, but because you recognize it for what it is. The first book in what could potentially be an epic series. As the listener we are left with two things, one is a great album. A solid piece of art that we can experience over and over at our every urge. The second is a deep longing for new music. We are not satisfied with just these 8 songs? Sure, we treasure them, but we we want more. That is the American way, is it not?
PURCHASE: SWAMP BABIES UP HIGH FROM WAY DOWN HERE
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE SWAMP BABIES VISIT WWW.ELEGANT-TRAINWRECK.COM