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Folk Songs of American Longhair
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Folk Songs Of The American Longhair
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Vinyl, July 10, 2015
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Brother Dege Legg is most known for being the mainman in the band Santeria, who describe their sound as psyouthern hard rock ! Formed in 1994, since then for the Louisiana band it s been, says, Legg, Years of gigs, madness, tours, voodoo curses, wrecked vans, band members losing their minds and much more, detailed in the online Santeria Tour Journals, read by countless freaks across the world. Get ready for some raw dirt, railroad pounding, swamp-fried, Louisiana-meets-the-Mekong Delta blues music. This ain't no cowboy chording blues cheese. This is the REAL deal. Dege Legg (aka Brother Dege), the Cajun born and Louisiana raised leader of the band Santeria, is about to release his highly anticipated slide/Dobro record entitled Folk Songs Of The American Longhair, co-produced by 4x Grammy-winner Tony Daigle (Dr. John, Sonny Landreth, Gatemouth Brown, Bobby Charles, etc) and Santeria lead-guitarist Primo. Legg composed ten original tunes in the slide-Delta tradition, painstakingly paying tribute to the old masters while tossing all purist, karaoke-like tendencies to the wind. Think Son House meets Leonard Cohen at a hoodoo séance in the swamps. Slide players from the U.S. to Europe are already covering the tunes - and the record isn't even out yet - via a series of live Brother Dege youtube videos which have garnered over 150,000 plays with no promotional hype or jive. Much like the field recordings of Alan Lomax, the record tunnels into the ancient mysteries of pre-war blues and the devil-obsessed masters. Recorded in sheds, old houses and open fields for maximum intensity. There s minimal instrumentation on this thing. In a return to the unprocessed basics, almost all of the tracks feature only one vocal, one slide guitar and one foot stomping. That s it. Listeners are in for a treat when they hear how the music sounds, writhing about in the echo chamber of reality when stripped of all the studio trickery of the past decade.
Legg is most known for being the mainman in the band Santaria, who describe their sound as psyouthern hard rock ! Formed in 1994, since then for the Lousiana band it s been, says, Legg, Years of gigs, madness, tours, voodoo curses, wrecked vans, band members losing their minds and much more, detailed in the online Santeria Tour Journals, read by countless freaks across the world. Legg is to release his own solo album on February 16, called Folk Songs Of The American Longhair. It s said to be very much in the tradition of the slide guitar Delta blues tradition, but with Legg s own twist. He says: Think Son House meets Leonard Cohen and a hoodoo séance in the swamps... raw dirt, railroad pounding, swamp-fried, Louisiana-meets-the-Mekong Delta blues music! --Classic Rock Magazine
No music has as much emotional impact with the least amount of fuss, he says of Delta blues, which serves as the armature upon which Brother Dege drapes a black and blue, tie-died tarpaulin. I started playing slide 12 years ago, more like a hobby than an artistic pursuit. Just kept doing it for fun. My strength is song writing. So I wrote my own slide songs; kind of like 21st century Delta blues dark, apocalyptic, and heavy more so than the happy pappy stuff. Doing this kind of Delta blues is tricky though because white people have historically ruined a lot of the blues with mid-life crisis cheese, fedora hats and bad song writing. --The Independent
Dispatches from Ghost Town: A Conversation with Brother Dege Dege Legg is a ghost. His bones rattle like tin cans tied to the tail of an alley cat and he haunts all the darkest parts of your mind, the parts that moan and wail in the middle of the night when the moon bleeds. As a ghost, he s one of America s best kept songwriting (and writing) secrets. He s lived a few lifetimes in the spooky, isolated backwoods of Louisiana where he cultivates his genius on words and music under endless starry skies as the distant static of radio transmitters buzz like mosquitoes skimming the surface of the swamp. He s also an inspiration for endless rock n roll rhetoric, and the gonzo nonsense I spin here takes on a dignified, romantic air when I m talking about Dege (pronounced Deej in case you re having trouble). I ve always admired Dege s accomplishments as a writer (he s a prolific blogger, author of the novel, Battle Hymn of the Good Ole Hillbilly Zatan Boys, and writer/music and calendar editor for The Independent Weekly) and as the main man behind psyouthern rock bands Santeria and Black Bayou Construktion, he s created some incredible, moving, and magical rock n blues records. In fact, Santeria s 2003 record, House of the Dying Sun, is a masterpiece and shines like a beautiful, rare gem in America s rock n roll history. I truly believe that. And now the tradition continues as Dege Legg, as Brother Dege, sheds his skin to let his soul shine on his latest solo album, Folk Songs of the American Longhair. This album has been burning a hole in my blog as I ve been waiting to write about it, but the only way I was going to do it was if it was accompanied by a conversation with the man himself. But first, the album. Folk Songs is an iconic, bare bones Delta blues record, just Dege and a Dobro, and the steel on every song echoes like falling tears in a mausoleum. It s a chilling portrait of death and redemption, an ode to the long road, and each and every slide draws you down into the earth s waiting dirt. --Broken Beard
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The music on 'Folk Songs of the American Longhair' is a rock musician's take on Louisiana Delta Blues (all of the songs are written by Dege). Whilst the album rocks pretty hard occasionally, I think many songs work well as blues also - thanks, in no small measure, to the accomplished dobro slide playing which dominates the album instrumentally. Featured prominently also, are much bass drum thumping and Dege's slightly strangulated Southern rasp - he has quite a distinctive voice which makes you want to hold out for more. Other instruments played on selected tracks are : organ, fiddle, electric guitar, electric bass and djembe. The basic tracks were 'recorded by Dege Legg in a shed in Southern Louisiana'; also, there are some studio overdubs and a bit of electronic tweaking to give extra texture and depth to the music (at times, sounding kind of spooky) - but nevertheless, much of the album's raw quality is still retained.
Lyrically, you don't get a wide range of themes - with most of the songs concentrating on hardship, despair and the point of human existence (always assuming that there is one); but nonetheless, the lyrics do drive the message home, and they also lend an air of blues/roots authenticity to the music. There's a good mix of tempos on the album. My favourite tracks are : `The Girl Who Wept Stones', 'Too Old To Die Young', 'House of the Dying Sun', `Dead & Gone' and 'Old Angel Midnight'.
'Folk Songs of the American Longhair' is an album of Southern gothic blues/roots-rock featuring some terrific dobro playing, interesting vocals, a high groove quotient and a mood that never inadvertently strays into anything remotely cheerful or optimistic. There are some additional instruments (other than dobro) played, but they don't get much of a look in - it would have been nice to hear a bit more of these (including a few short solos) because there isn't a great deal of instrumental variety from one song to the next (although the versatility of Dege's dobro playing compensates to some extent).
The 30 second music samples don't really do Dege's dobro playing full justice - if you want to hear more, there are several clips on YouTube (decent sound quality). Try not to miss 'House of the Dying Sun' or 'Old Angel Midnight' - in my opinion, the album's best tracks.
Top international reviews
Von dem Künstler hatte ich ansonsten vorher noch nichts gehört.
Ich bin absolut begeistert! Eine meiner Lieblings-CDs zur Zeit.
Wenn es mal etwas chilliger und nicht brachial sein soll, lege ich dieses Album rein.
Brother Dege hat eine schöne Stimme und der Southern Rock Style weiß zu gefallen.
Meine Kaufempfehlung hat die CD!
Und nicht bereut. Finde die Musik klasse. CD und Hülle in Ordnung. Top!!
Für jeden Delta Blues Slide Blues und southern rock Fan ein