Gideon Smith again shows that he truly is a sonic alchemist who is driven by an unbending outlaw spirit. Another proof of this is his new album, '30 Weight', which shows again the stylistic bandwidth of his music. For a long time already, it was obvious that Gideon Smith has more to offer than just stereotypical southern rock. A lot of different influences are incorporated into his music, ranging from psychedelia over hardrock to gothic (not the cheesy kind). He combines all this with a lot of delta blues, country and rock 'n' roll to create a very individual sound. His dark and soulful voice significantly raises its recognition value and it would not be wrong to claim that there's a sonic similarity to other vocalists such as Jim Morrison or Ian Astbury. But on the whole, he just shares the same timbre with these big names. If you listen closely, you realise that Gideon Smith is doing his own thing with regard to his vocal style. His voice is way too unique to be classified and any comparison to other vocalists doesn't do justice.
Besides that, it is good to know that '30 Weight' has been recorded with almost the same line-up as on the previous album, 'South Side Of The Moon'. With Phil Durr (Big Chief, Five Horse Johnson, Luder, Giant Brain) on lead guitar, he found someone sharing his ideas of how blues, rock and other elements could be melted togehter to achieve the unique sound that both of them considered to be best. Eric Hoegemeyer (Giant Brain) is the man behind the drums who provides THE DIXIE DAMNED with spot on playing. All this is complemented by a couple of guest musicians including Sue Lott (Slot, Luder).
The last time Small Stone Records label chief Scott Hamilton was among the guests, but this time he is "only" involved as label chief. You guessed it, '30 Weight' will be released via Small Stone in 2011. But now back to the music. This is an amazing album from a band of musical wizards. There's so much intensity, swagger and attitude in this album and whoever thinks that music can't be dark and light, heavy and uplifting all at once has never heard the magic of GIDEON SMITH & THE DIXIE DAMNED. The album starts with 'Black Fire' which sets the mood well. There's a dirty and deep feel that draws you into the music along with catchy melodic lines and a memorable chorus. But not only 'Black Fire' is driven by a vintage rock 'n' roll spirit.
The same could be said about the whole album which is considerably more rooted in classic rock ('n' roll) than 'South Side Of The Moon'. And yet '30 Weight' is crossed by psychedelic swathes and some outlaw country music. This is particularly true for 'Shining Star' and 'Born To The Highway', but also the fantastic cover version of 'I Bleed Black' (Saint Vitus) has been enriched with a subliminal lysergic undertone. There are a lot of great songs on '30 Weight', but 'Come And Howl' is definitely among my fave cuts. Never before has GIDEON SMITH & THE DIXIE DAMNED had such a strong 1960's vibe in their music. 'Come And Howl' is sexy as fuck and one of Gid's most infectious songs. In contrast, 'Do Me Wrong' is fueled by the love and passion for bands such as The Cult and Circus Of Power. All in all, '30 Weight' is a great album with songs that are some of the best in his entire catalog. Gideon and his ever-changing backing band of musical desperado’s have created a timeless album that could have just as easily been produced in 1968 or 1978 as it was in 2011. A varied yet individual package that fans of the darker side of rock 'n' roll will enjoy. I highly recommend this one.