Joe Buck once again releases an album with no prior promotion. I love it. For an artist with zero online presence (his website and social media sites are run by his wife or Bucket City Agency), he sure knows how to cause a stir. One must wonder if Joe Buck would indeed draw bigger crowds and sell more records if he did know how to, or own a computer. The world will never know. But, in a time when internet exposure and promotion makes or breaks an artist, Joe Buck is a nice, refreshing contradiction to today's standards. Not many artists can tour as much as he does without a constant internet connection.
Aside from the awkward title, "Who Dat?", just may be Joe's finest release to date. Fans use to the "Evil Mother Fucker from Tennessee", may be surprised with this one, but, none the less pleased. Make no mistake, Joe makes it clear on the third track, "Hellbound", that he is indeed still an Evil Motherfucker, but, aside from this track, the record sways away from the lyrical messages of his past releases. This is a much more personal effort.
I do prefer Joe Buck's earlier releases compared to the last collection "Piss and Vinegar", for many reasons. First of all, the "classic" tunes such as "Planet Seeth", and "Are You My Enemy?" were made to be punk songs, and they were recorded as so on his early demos. When "Piss and Vinegar" came out, I was surprised to hear these punk songs toned down and with clean vocals. With "Who Dat?", we also get 99% clean vocals. But, in this case, these songs were meant to be toned down and it works great. This is a whole new side of Mr. Buck. While, his undeniable guitar tone and distortion are still in tact, this album offers a much more blues sound. For those that may have never heard Joe Buck before, and are not as open minded as some, this may be a nice introduction to him.
"Blood River" opens the collection. From the start, we get much more in depth and personal songwriting from Joe. Lyrics about growing up, and his parents sway far away from songs about the devil, drugs, and demons. It is certainly refreshing. Again, I LOVE Joe's entire catalog. But, I have been hearing and watching the same 15 songs live, performed the exact same way for many years now and it is nice to hear a completely new sound from a great artist. It just proves the adversity the man has.
Joe also proves that he can write touching, beautiful songs with ease. Hell, we even get a ballad about his wife, with "Tied at the Hip". On top of that, he also offers up "Tango of Death", and the title track, which, in my mind, are two of his best songs to date.
We all have always known that Joe is one of our times great songwriters. He pretty much single handedly wrote and performed "Cockadoodledont", arguably the best release by Th' Legendary Shack Shakers. And, of course, he was a very large part of the song writing process on "Straight to Hell" and "Damn Right, Rebel Proud". But, this time, he gets all the credit.
"Genocide" and "Evil Comes to Town" are two nice numbers that would fit right in on an older Joe Buck release, and are songs he has been performing live at shows for a while now. "Jesus is Dead" is one of the only songs with no instrumentation besides acoustic guitar and vocals, and it is a beauty.
I can only hope that someone backs this album and gets it the proper promotion and attention that it deserves. "Piss and Vinegar" kind of fell to the wayside after the deal with Century Media became ill void. His demo releases are available as a burnt cd-rs at the live shows. And, as of now, it looks quite the same for "Who Dat?", although it is up for digital release at Amazon! But, again, this is what makes Joe special. An artist in his late 40's, doing it old school. A man not concerned with a quick buck or a straight shot to stardom. Joe Buck loves his life and he wouldn't have it any other way.
One thing is for sure, no matter what becomes of this album, Joe will continue to be a road warrior for as long as we can tell. His live shows are a thing of beauty and must be experienced by any fan of live music. And, with the addition of these songs, it should provide a diverse show from what we have all seen in the past!
Focus Tracks: "Who Dat?", "Jesus is Dead"
"Who Dat?" can be purchased now at Amazon!
Joe Buck Yourself Tour Dates can be found HERE.