By Bee Delores
A rich, engulfing, emotionally-driven LP that soundtracks every small town in America.
Muscadine Bloodline’s Charlie Muncaster and Gary Stanton go for broke on their new studio album, Teenage Dixie. The duo sharpens their pens and sculpts 16 songs out of their upbringing in rural Alabama, sketching vignettes both fictitious and autobiographical.
The record is a vibrant mural of middle America that often zig-zags between buoyant radio fare (‘Me on You,’ ‘Evinrudin’) and jukebox spinners about country’s greats (‘Pocketful of 90’s Country’).
“Country music is salvation” is a declaration that reverberates across the album, as the duo dig in their heels to deliver some of their best work to-date. Standout track ‘Inconvenience Store’ is a dark tale about a hold-up in a store. As the guitars snarl, the duo’s voices whip up the melody with a raw, sticky venom. “With my hand on the trigger don’t wanna pull it,” Muncaster hisses. “Hard times and hard up something else”.
From ‘Life Itself’ to the barbed-wire tear of ‘Shootout in Saraland’, the duo rip pages from history books and made-up fables about important figures. They even stage a seven-verse sequel to Charlie Daniels Band’s ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’, setting up a narrative about a man named W.T. who proves to be quite the worthy adversary. Jangly and coarse, ‘Devil Died in Dixie’ is as detailed and specific as its predecessor. It’s a gnarled epic that finds the Devil finally meeting a grisly fate.
For as fiercely electric the album is, Muscadine Bloodline can slam on the brakes for a real moment of vulnerability. ‘Azalea Blooms’ is an ode to unconditional love, suited up only with a guitar and a kick drum’s throbbing heartbeat. “I’ve seen my share of azalea blooms” confesses Stanton, “but I ain’t ever seen a thing as pretty as you”.
Teenage Dixie soundtracks every small town in America. It's a rich, engulfing, emotionally-driven LP that captures the unmistakable truth of people and their stories. It’s also a cultural snapshot, both good and bad, that sends a high-pitched ring into the eardrums. More than anything, you’re bound to see yourself in its blinding reflection.
Teenage Dixie is out on Friday 24th February via Stancaster Music. You can purchase the record from one of Holler's selected partners below:
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