Southern Hospitality,
Easy Living
(Blind Pig, 2013)

When Damon Fowler, JP Soars and Victor Wainwright were all playing with their respective bands at a blues festival in Florida and got together to jam, they discovered that, together, they had something. Southern Hospitality was born.

The day of the band's birth should be celebrated as an American holiday because something extraordinary came into being that day.

Southern Hospitality is a collection of three master musicians -- Fowler on slide guitar, lap steel and dobro, Soars on guitar and Wainwright on keyboards -- whose musical instincts, skills, talents and visions blend perfectly. This band isn't a supergroup trying to blend three distinct personalities into something that works, like Cream was. No, these guys, though all strong instrumentalists, unify into a coherent band. And a fine one it is.

One thing that unites them is a love for the heritage of southern music. They play New Orleans funk, Southern rock, classic country, Memphis and Muscle shoals r&b and, of course, blues, and they play it all as if they were born to it. Which, of course, being southern born and raised, they were.

What amazes is how at home these guys are with almost all forms of southern music. "Southern Living," which kicks off the album, will make you think you're listening to a New Orleans Allen Toussaint romp, while "Come Back Home" has a Huey Smith & the Clowns kick to it. In "Powered for the Mountain" we get some supercharged blues-rock, while "Don't Boogie Woogie" reflects on the work of Lloyd Price.

The problem here is that all three of these guys have thriving careers with their own bands. Will they be able to keep Southern Hospitality together, or will this CD turn out to be a one-off? Now that they've arrived so strong, it would be a shame for them to depart early.

music review by
Michael Scott Cain

15 June 2013

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