Released: 2003, Leviathan Records
“Good Time, Very Heavy, Blues Rock” is how Southern Gentlemen describe their music and who am I to argue? If you are wondering why this CD is being reviewed, the reason is that Southern Gentlemen is fronted by guitar legend David T. Chastain. I had the opportunity to review their debut release EXOTIC DANCER BLUES, which by the way has a fantastic picture of Chastain vocalist Kate French on the cover, and enjoyed it quite a bit. The band creates a sound that will be near and dear to hearts of any ZZ Top or AC/DC fan. Though, for the most part, the music is not quite as high octane as these acts it carves it own niche and puts forth a sound that is lacking in the scene today.
As with EXOTIC DANCER BLUES Chastain contributes lead vocals to this CD and again he does an admirable job. He has said that his voice is not suited for hard rock and metal records but fits perfectly within this style. Chastain and his compatriots, Kevin Kekes: bass and Mike Haid: drums, lay down some great tracks on this CD starting with the rocking “Tell Me Woman”. This song is the first up-tempo track on the CD and is a real southern foot stomper that has some great long solos from Chastain. In fact the band purposely wanted to extend the solos to get more of a jamming atmosphere. A very good decision because not only do we get to hear more of Mr. Chastain, the songs also benefit in that they become more than your basic old blues songs as David adds his unique brand of soulful shredding to the mix. “Racing Back to Mississippi” has a definite ZZ TOP feel and again see the Gentlemen with the pedal to the metal. The opposite end of the spectrum is also displayed on “I Languish For You”. This is a more traditional blues song, albeit with a number of dramatic solos from Chastain, which deals with the longing for a love lost.
Southern Gentlemen do not suffer from the sophomore jinx. If anything they have built upon the strengths of EXOTIC DANCER BLUES. The extended solos add a different feel to the music and allow Chastain to spread his wings a little more than on the last CD. The rhythm section of Kekes and Haid is spot on in laying down a groovy backbone that makes this release more than just a David Chastain shred fest. The cover artwork again is a beautiful, scantily clad, lady. An image that I think will become the hallmark of the band. If blues based rock and hard rock appeal to you then your collection should include the Southern Gentlemen.