Day 13: Bohannons – Black Cross, Black Shield
On Day 13 of Chris’31 Days of Music we are going to take you into a dark place with the brooding Black Cross, Black Shield from Tennessee’s Bohannons.
Down South well below the Mason Dixon line in the home of Rock City, Moon Pies and the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame, Bohannons meticulously ready the release of a new album. Black Cross, Black Shield is an epic guitar laden narrative that crawls from the muddy back roads to engulf listeners’ souls like the ever present kudzu that devours the Southern landscape. The band’s music is driven by the wall of vicious guitar riffs that is saturated with Southern soul as the band offers up songs about lost souls, love, life & death and people’s darkest fears.
Bohannons open the album up with the title track “Black Cross, Black Shield”. As the brooding sounds intensify Marty Bohannon’s anger is palpable in his diatribe about the fears associated with a lack of health insurance. This track hits close to home due to the visible presence insurance companies have in Chattanooga. On the soulful “Love Stunt” the band takes a hack at affairs of the heart. The lyrics compare the dangers of falling in love to those of death defying stunts; both hold high rewards but defy logic. Death and despair oozes from the dark “Lightning and Thunder”. Sparse vocals accompanied by a lone guitar set the tone before being punctuated by a tsunami of sounds. Once again the stench of death is in the air with the song “Dios De Los Muertas (Day of the Dead)”. Possessing an ominous beginning complete with echoing guitars and rattling bones, Bohannons poke at the festering sore spot that is immigration between Mexico and America. While most records bombard listeners with all the choice cuts on the front end, on Black Cross, Black Shield Bohannons save the best for last with “Red, White, Black and Pale”. As Marty’s vocals ease their way through a sense of impending doom brought on by surly guitars and ominous rhythms a blood curdling harmonica (care of Mr. Jimbo Mathus) pierces the orchestrated chaos. The song slowly grows until reaching the musical peak where all the sounds collide in a brilliant climax before effortlessly falling apart into nothingness.
With Black Cross, Black Shield Bohannons have delivered an album that reaches people’s souls. The lyrics are well thought out touching on subjects that affect us all but many prefer to keep buried inside the deep recesses of the mind. Musically the record is brilliant using dark soundscapes to punctuate the lyrics. They harness the sounds of Sabbath, Crazy Horse and Deep Purple to create a musical landscape that is all Bohannons. The band is a leader in a new breed of bands to emerge from the South, respecting the heritage of the Southern rock bands past and creating music on the foundations they have laid. The music uses bigger bolder sounds wrapped around lyrics that touch on lingering social issues and stereotypes the South can’t seem to escape from. Available later this month on This Is American Music, Black Cross, Black shield is a record that will not only have you rocking out but it will make you think.
31 Days of Music
Day 13 – Bohannons – Black Cross, Black Shield
Day 14 – Feral – Automatic Biters
Day 15 – Futurebirds – Hotel Parties
Day 16 – Ike Reilly – Born on Fire
Day 17 – Blue Blood – This Is The Life
Day 18 – Patrick Sweany – Daytime Turned to Nighttime
Day 19 – Mark Utley’s Bulletville – Bulletville
Day 20 – Porter – This Red Mountain
Day 21 – Left Lane Cruiser – Dirty Spliff Blues
Day 22 – Leon – Bridges
Day 23 – Ray Wylie Hubbard – The Ruffian’s Misfortune
Day 24 – Kent Goolsby & the Gold Standard – No Substitute for Handsome
Day 25 – Tedo Stone – Marshes
Day 26 – The Mountain Goats – Beat the Champ
Day 27 – American Aquarium – Wolves
Day 28 – Strange Majik – Lights On
Day 29 – Banditos – Banditos
Day 30 – The Juliana Hatfield Three – Whatever, My Love
Day 31 – Barrence Whitfield & the Savages – Under the Savage Sky