Pierce Edens and the Dirty Work – Live

Sound Lab Studios

Sound Lab Studios

Combine the ache of Hank Williams Sr. with the fire of Hank III, hammer it together with Joe Strummer’s conviction, and send it a’flyin’ with Tom Waits’ gutter-gospel preacher delivery: now you have a little bit of an idea of what Pierce Edens sounds like when he’s burrowed into a song and, in his words, “raisin’ a ruckus.”

And it ain’t just Edens raisin’ that ruckus on this here new Live album, boys and girls. Right alongside him are his co-conspirators The Dirty Work: Matt Smith playing the dog snot out of electric guitar and pedal steel; Jesse James Hongisto thumping the upright bass; and Dane Rand hammering out the big-assed beat. Plus there are some “special friends” on hand – Justin Ray on trumpet and saxophonist Jacob Rodriguez, along with Jim Aaron blowing the harmonica sad and sweet.

Put the whole works together and you have one wild and woolly blend of music that’s rough-and-tumble and lovely and raw and smart and real as the Appalachian Mountains where Edens grew up – and there’s an hour and a quarter of it on Live, just waiting to spin your head around.

The core band on this 13-song set is Rand, Hongisto, Edens, and Smith – basically, drums, bass, Edens on acoustic guitar, and Smith with whatever stringed weapon he chooses. To describe the lineup in words might sound limiting: the sound itself is anything but.

When Edens and The Dirty Work crank on the hoodoo, they can get as swampy as a John Fogerty nightmare (“Jailhouse”, “Mischief”). Or they can get all rockabilly reckless at the drop of a hat, barrel-assing along with the pedal flat to the floorboards and slapping the doors in time to the beat (“Money”, “Pretty”). Sometimes they slow it down and pull off a few minutes of honkytonk heartbreak that would be right at home on an old Mother’s Best Flour Show radio broadcast (listen to “Trouble” and give me another beer, barkeep); and sometimes they let fly with the kind of oomph and drama that would make even the folks in a stadium’s cheap seats flinch (“Montana”, “Ghost On The Radio”, “Can’t Sleep”).

Don’t go running off – click here to read all about Pierce Edens and the Dirty Work in the conclusion of my Jambands.com review

One Comment

  1. Sean Doyle
    Posted February 24, 2014 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    You won’t see a live show quite like this one. No one rocks harder or works harder than this band. It’s everything the author here says times 10.

    You won’t hear better lyrics or better crafted songs from any of today’s best acts.

    These guys are good!

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