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Third Time is the Charm
Released: 2006, Leviathan Records
Third Time IS the charm for David Chastain and Southern Gentlemen. Having created 2 excellent slabs of blues metal with the bands debut EXOTIC DANCER BLUES (2000) and DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE (2003) the Gentlemen have finally released their eagerly awaited third disc and it was surely worth the wait. Not only do we get a new CD but the band also has a new lineup. Joining Chastain is holdover Mike Haid on drums plus new bass player Dave Swart and more importantly vocalist Eric Johns. On the previous releases Chastain handled the vocals duties along with guitars but this time around he found the vocalist that he felt the band needed to get it to the next level. And this writer can’t say as he can disagree. Johns is a powerhouse on vocals and has a gritty yet powerful set of pipes that perfectly fits the Southern Gentlemen sound.
THIRD TIME IS THE CHARM is the Gentlemen’s heaviest work to date. Part of that the band attributes to the disc being mixed by Mike Schmid at the Music Factory in Germany but it is much more than that. The songs themselves are shorter, for the most part, than those found on DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE. The extended jams have been taken out which makes the album overall flow a little better and makes it more cohesive. The biggest reason though can be attributed to new vocalist Johns. Though Chastain was a good vocalist, Johns takes the songs places that most vocalists can only dream of. His voice drips with emotion and power and blends perfectly with Chastain’s vision of southern hard rock. “Heaven Help Me Now”, “I Don’t Want You” and “Caught You Red Handed” are standouts with “Caught You” being the story of a man catching his woman with his best friend. On this track the addition of Johns really strikes home as his emotional delivery coupled with one of Chastain’s more aggressive guitar riffs makes this possibly the best song on the CD and one of the best from the Southern Gentlemen catalogue.
Southern Gentlemen is a band that I have always appreciated but with the addition of Johns on vocals it is safe to say that they have positioned themselves well for the apparent resurgence in hard rock that is happening right now. Chastain is an elite guitar player and now he has found an elite voice to help realize his Southern Gentlemen vision.
It’s Not True
I Don’t Want You
Caught You Red Handed
Heaven Help Me Now
Going Down to Texas
Ladies of the Night
David T. Chastian: Guitars
Eric Johns: Vocals
Mike Haid: Drums
Dave Swart: Bass
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