"Blood of the Ram" is the Austin band's seventh album and once again their plate is loaded full of the uniquely organic, Cajunspiced gonzo music that have made instant fans of every lucky soul who chanced to see the Gourds live. The band - frontman Kevin Russell, former Uncle Tupelo/Wilco fiddler Max Johnston, Claude Bernard, Jimmy Smith and Keith Langford - has gotten the party started; now it's just up to you to grab a cold beer, kick off your shoes and join in. So, what are you waiting for?
Ten years together and the Gourds remain exactly who they set out to be: Austin's good-time answer to the Band
. Their devotion to country rock and bluegrass, their free-spirited sense of fun and tradition, and their strange and surprising wordplay are still intact judging by these 13 new originals, which thump and swing through off-color boogies, dirt-road daydreams, raunchy sing-alongs, and baptisms in bourbon or, as on the title track, in gospel blood. Founders Kevin Russell and Jimmy Smith have never harmonized with such scratchy spirit, and if their songwriting and arrangements stick to the acoustic, just-shy-of-stoned bop they long ago perfected, the sound and soul still ring true and joyously alive. --Roy Kasten