Sophomore releases tend to be tricky affairs. This is particularly true if the first release wasnoteworthy.Orlando’s The Bloody Jug Band have a dead ringer with this exceptional follow up release, “Coffin Up Blood.”
The production is sharp and crisp, the song writing has matured (mostly), and the big pay off has been all the live shows the band now has under its belt. Mandolin, harmonica and slide guitar are used to color the music to great effect.
The band performs seamlessly, without crowding one another; no small feat in a seven piece. This step indicates they now understand each other in a way only musicians can after they’ve spent countless hours crammed together in a van, then a stage, and then back to the van once again.
And the songs? Deeply textured, with more depth than would expect from a group whose focal point is noir horror themes. The new version of “Graverobber Blues” and “Boy Called Lucy” are delivered with conviction and just the right measure of spite. Vocalists Cragmire Peace and Stormy Jean are a perfect compliment to each other. Stormy Jeans rich, earthy tones sweetly soften the edges of Peace’s Lemmy as a carnival barker delivery.
“Blood Train” is a foot stompin’, sing along, that were it electrified, you’d swear had come from Bon Scott Era AC/DC’s catalog. “Devil’s Hand” is another stand out track which ought to be used as the theme music for one of those televised Texas Hold ‘Em tournaments.
There’s an overall country-blues feel to this collection of songs that aren’t exactly murder ballads. The Bloody Jug Band are ready to step out of their label as interesting musical curiosity and become a regional/national act of note. They’ve worked hard to come this far, and clearly, they’ve given blood as well.