The Gourds are so easy to like, for they're the hopeful, bad news lovers who always hope to make good and ultimately wind up with pockets full of tales, disses and heartache. It's simple to enjoy the way that they celebrate the yearning of seeing a pretty girl and then letting that image, letting that gnawing possibility of legs, hair and pretty smile consume the hell out of them, knowing that there's doom brewing off to the west, waiting to rumble through the hills. There's no substitution for the way that the female hooks get into a man and singers Kevin "Shinyribs" Russell, Max Johnston and Jimmy Smith, organist Claude Bernard and drummer Keith Langford know this all too well. There's no substitution for the way it makes a man beside himself. He howls and he bawls and he floats quite a bit, sliding in and out of favor with this creature that he'll never understand. He treads lightly most of the time, not wanting to burst the illusion, not wanting her to ever realize that she's too good for him - which is always the case.
The Gourds make an Americana sound that sometimes sounds like "I'm A Wheel" from Wilco's "A Ghost Is Born" album, sometimes like a song from a Big Pink recording session by The Band or a soul spiritual, but it always feels like a bunch of guys getting together to talk about the junk and the ache that ladies put them through, the only way that guys ever do it - with guitars and lyrics. It has the feeling of a back porch bullshit session where everyone knows what the topic of choice is going to be, so they're ready to bring the goods, on the craziest and hottest women that they've been beat up by. On this session, recorded down in Austin on a hot September day, they cover the Doug Sahm song, "Nitty Gritty," a tour story about a girl who was about as loyal as a guy could toss her, joining the caravan up to Boston, but leaving it for a fella on the East Coast, putting the poor traveling troubadour into his misery and out of his mind even further. He sings, "Then this douchebag from the city took away my nitty gritty." Those shes and hers make everything so unsettling and iffy, but with just the right amount of whiskey, music and men, it can be overlooked.