Review by Mike Paradine
Artist: Texas Hippie Coalition
Label: Carved Records
Release Date: 14-August-2012
1. Hands Up
2. Damn You To Hell
3. 8 Seconds
5. Turn It Up
7. Don’t Come Lookin’
8. Sex & Drugs & Rock N’ Roll
9. Paw Paw Hill
11. Think Of Me
My first encounter with southern rock was, as a young kid, I was given “Ramblin’ Man” by the Allman Brothers on a 45 record. I immediately hated it. I was into the Rolling Stones and Alice Cooper, not some cowboy, hillbilly, shit kicking music. As I grew older, that attitude stayed the same. Growing up in an industrial city, southern rock music had nothing to do with my upbringing. It was so off my radar, it might as well come from one of the moons of Jupiter. The Charles Daniels band, Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Outlaws soon hit the scene and I still had no interest in anything other than excess of KISS, Aerosmith and the rest of hard rock bunch. It wasn’t until Molly Hatchet came along that I could bring myself to listen to anything in that genre. At least MH welded together hard rock with some of the better southern sensibilities.
As the 90’s brought in the worst decade of music, grunge pushed aside all of the bands in the hard rock, heavy metal and southern rock music. Having totally ignored the “woe is me” attitude of that new style of music, I went in and rediscovered some of the music that I had dismissed a decade before. After listening and reading, I found that southern rock and metal had a lot in common. The comradery, beer drinking, just having a good time, and the twin lead guitars, were just some of the similarities between both genres. I soon had a new appreciation for southern rock and even began to search out for some of the music.
As metal was rising from the operating table in the 2000’s, southern rock remained without a pulse. There seemed to be no new groups to step into the shoes of the southern masters. A little earlier, there were bands that sprinkled a little southern spice to their music such as Down, Corrosion of Conformity and Kid Rock, yet no one committed their body and spirit totally to that music. It was becoming apparent that this style of music was going to be left in the history pages of rock n roll.
But with the southern hospitality of Lynard Skynard and the boastfulness of Ted Nugent, southern rocks best hope could be with the Texas Hippie Coalition and their new album, Peachmaker. Now despite the combination of those two bands THC is heavily influence by Pantera but in between the brutal riffs and attitude, you can hear the haunting rants of Johnny Cash.
Now the band, as with all southern rockers before them, glorify the outlaw life style and that is the prevalent massage on this album. The lead track, “Hands Up” is one song that disperses with that attitude but is full of high energy and a great song to party with at full blast.”Damn You to Hell” and “Outlaw” continues with the raw and loud texture but with a helluva groove to them. “8 Seconds” conjures up ZZ Top right from the first riff while “Don’t Come Looking” goes back to the rocking outbursts of Lynyrd Skynyrd. The band then puts out a full on Pantera attack on the song, “Wicked” with its brutal guitar and rhythm section.
Vocalist, Big Dad Ritch, brings out the badass, southern attitude in his raspy, gravelly voice which fits perfectly for their brand of smoke and fire. The guitar playing of Wes Wallace produces a blend of heaviness, catchy riffs and a bombastic sound that comes together for a flawless combination. Drummer Timmy Braun and bassist, John Exall carries out a full out blitz which one can feel their power, as if hit by a ten ton Mack truck. All in all, the band is ass tight. The song, “Think of Me” is the lone ballad on the CD and would actually go well with being a single for radio. Don’t get me wrong, this is a good song and one that Big Rich sings very well but I just feel it’s disconnected from the rest of the material.
I fully enjoy listening to this album and have only one thing that I don’t like about it. Lyrically, I’ve heard it all before, outlaws, guns, good girls gone bad and all the rest. Also, some sounds are repeated throughout the song list but this is all part of this genres attitude and storytelling and to be honest, they do it well. They blend southern rock with a Pantera/Monster Magnet sound and they do it right, something I never would have imagined but works really well. The band brings southern rock to another place and they do it with authenticity. “Peacemaker” is not only great to have beers with but also an album to drive down a highway, going over the speed limit. A truly enjoyable album, glad I got a chance to listen to it.