There’s something about the darker side of southern music that makes the hair on my arms stand up. The blues, gospel, and soul is so entrenched in the music of the south that when you start fucking with the darker aspects of life, you get some creepy, yet beautiful music. The Legendary Shack Shakers have championed these stories from day one, and have been creeping me out every since.
If you’ve every had the chance to see these geniuses live, you know what I mean. It feels more like a church sermon in some dank and moldy burnt out church in the swamp, where the preacher belts out his sermon to the sounds of great tunes. It feels like the scary carnival has come to town and you’re locked in the room with the creepy singing snake charmer, but the music is awesome and you just can’t look away. You feel filthy, but you love every second of it. All you want is more whisky to soften the bad thoughts bombarding your mind – seeping deep into your soul. Dirty, filthy, killing songs from the swamp. Amazing.
In an interview with them folks over at Rolling Stone, frontman/madman J.D Wilkes recalls an early memory that may have crossed him over to the dank side of the swamp. “I walked in on an exorcism once in school — something a kid should never have to do. But there was great music and a lot of energy and enthusiasm. It was their punk rock show for God,” Wilkes says, seated backstage at historic Nashville club Exit/In prior to a Shack Shakers gig. He’s utterly calm and shockingly normal pre-show, in stark contrast to the dervish he’ll become when the lights go down. “They were channeling something [in their ceremonies] and when you’re onstage, you have to be channeling something. Maybe it’s the id, maybe it’s a demon, maybe it’s an angel, maybe it’s the Holy Spirit. . . I don’t know. But they call it the ‘collective effervescence.'”
The Legendary Shack Shakers have a brand new record out now called The Southern Surreal, released on Jello Biafra’s Alternative Tentacles record label. Do yourself a favor. Get some of this in your earholes, but make sure you see them live. Do what you must to be part of the sermon. Cover yourself in their filth. – FATS
MUD by LEGENDARY SHACK SHAKERS from the album The Southern Surreal