“‘Hard Times’ is a standout for its craftsmanship and for the classically motoring riff at its center. It is very, very American. Chevys, whiskey spelled with the extra ‘e,’ consciously ogling a lady standing right next to her dude – it’s all right there.” – The Obelisk on
FIVE HORSE JOHNSON‘s “Hard Times”
Jake Leg Boogie is the forthcoming full-length from long-running blues riffers FIVE HORSE JOHNSON. In advance of its June release date on Small Stone, today The Obelisk offers up “Hard Times” for public inebriation.
Offers the band of the track, “‘Hard Times’ is a real high energy ripper. We really tapped into our MC5, Jimi Hendrix Experience vibe on this jam. The funny thing is, it’s one of the first songs we ever wrote together almost two decades ago! Glad we finally found a place and time to record it! And we’re quite happy that we still approve of our own songwriting twenty years later!”
Adds The Obelisk accurately and eloquently, “Thus far, the band has worked quickly and efficiently in offering true-to-their-nature heavy blues rock, but ‘Hard Times’ is a standout for its craftsmanship and for the classically motoring riff at its center. It is very, very American. Chevys, whiskey spelled with the extra ‘e,’ consciously ogling a lady standing right next to her dude – it’s all right there. ‘Hard Times’ pushes through its four minutes so sure of itself and its place that one almost has trouble believing the lyrics, which of course are about hard times, but as it ends the first half of Jake Leg Boogie, it also marks the shift into the ultra-effective midsection of the album, which continues its up-jumped shuffle with ‘Smoke Show’ before moving into the longest inclusion here, ‘Little Lonely.'”
Get down with “Hard Times,” courtesy of The Obelisk, at THIS LOCATION
Jake Leg Boogie will see release via Small Stone Recordings June 30th on CD, limited LP, and digital formats. For preorders, visit the Small Stone Bandcamp page at THIS LOCATION where you can also sample the opening title track.
When FIVE HORSE JOHNSON formed back in 1995, referring to themselves as a “blues band,” a few brows might well have been furrowed. But this is a band that has always understood that the blues isn’t a formula – it’s a way of looking at the world. Their take on the “blooze” is as a dirty, sensual thing, enhanced with a healthy dose of humor.
Now some two decades and seven albums into their career – with eighth Jake Leg Boogie, set to drop late this June on Small Stone – FIVE HORSE JOHNSON has dug out a niche of their own, a genuine love and respect for traditional blues and classic rock leading them to likewise become one of the most loved and respected bands in the heavy rock underground. Always a freight train live, they’ve toured the US (with Clutch and Halfway To Gone) and Europe extensively (including the festival circuit), gathering fans, friends, and drinking partners all over the Western World.
Jake Leg Boogie sees FIVE HORSE JOHNSON going back to its recording roots. Original drummer Tim Gahagan has rejoined, and the results are powerful. Brad Coffin’s guitar has never sounded heavier, his voice never stronger. Eric Oblander’s harp, meanwhile, is as sharp as a tailfin, and his gravelly vocal delivery a growling, howlin’ counterpoint to Coffin’s gruff style. Steve Smith’s bass is a strong backbone, while Phil Dürr’s guitar complements that of Coffin, adding extra edge for good measure. From the slow, bluesy stomp of the title-track, to the dirge vibe of “Daddy Was a Gun” – a story of some weird goings-on in a strange parish – Jake Leg Boogie is pure old-school FIVE HORSE JOHNSON, recorded live, everyone in the same room, with as little overdubbing as possible. Accordingly, it feels lively and loud in the MC5-come-Hendrix vibe of “Hard Times,” the hard-rocking “Magic Man” (a tale of depravity set in the town of Springfield, Missouri), and the near-Texan boogie of “Smoke Show.”
Jake Leg Boogie was recorded at Rustbelt Studios, with longtime producer Al Sutton (Big Chief, Novadriver, Halfway To Gone, Detroit Cobras) at the production helm, with a definitive nod to Dave Cobb (All Them Witches, Rival Sons). Artwork was provided by noted graphic artist and FIVE HORSE JOHNSON-collaborator Mark Dancey, keeping with a tradition established on 1999’s Fat Black Pussycat.
FIVE HORSE JOHNSON is not a band that makes apologies, and compromise is not an option. The truth is, this is hard, heavy, dirty blues rock ‘n’ roll for people who like the sound of an engine roaring or the feeling obtained by following a cold beer with a shot of good whiskey. FIVE HORSE JOHNSON will gladly kick your ass, and then wait for you to say thank you and ask for another. Which you will.