SEE THE LIGHTRELEASE DATE: 03/12/2013
DISTRIBUTION: CB BABY
FIDDLEWORMS TO PERFORM AT MUSCLE SHOALS SXSW SHOWCASE COINCIDING WITH THE SXSW PREMIERE OF "MUSCLE SHOALS" DOCUMENTARY
"FIDDLEWORMS LEADING THE CHARGE BEHIND THE MUSCLE SHOALS' RENAISSANCE" RELIX
Fermenting in the mud of North Alabama, Southern folk music, Muscle Shoals R&B, the Beatles and sixties psychedelia contribute to the Fiddleworms unique mojo. Lead singer/guitarist Russell Mefford and lead guitarist Chris Quillen formed the Fiddleworms in 1995, becoming the hottest and hardest working band around. Unfortunately, the devastating accidental death of Quillen prior to the release of Yellowhammer (1996), buried their dreams for a decade. Reforming in 2005, they released Year of the Cock, Live Bait (2007) and Volkswagen Catfish (2008). See the Light boasts the ‘Worms at the height of their creative powers and has been rightly called “a Southern homage to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
Eleven original tracks, interspersed with snippets of radio and poignant spoken words, star Mefford, Rob Malone (vocals, lead guitar, former Drive-by Trucker), Matt Ross (bass, vocals), Clint Bailey (keyboards, vocals), JohnTombyll (drums, vocals) and a large supporting cast including Mitch Mann (guitar, backing vocals, percussion) and the University of North Alabama Marching Band. The sinewy drive of “Medicine” opens the performance with lush, melodic guitars and vibrant harmony. Emanating bittersweet memory, Mefford sings “(Did you?) ride around in your old man’s car, like a moth in a medicine jar. "School girl went a little too far, dreamin’ of a family.” The clanging big bore rock of “Here It Comes” contains silken harmonies and the life metaphor of a confining band bus ride, Malone’s twisting, defiant solo dynamically separating the evocative lyrics of, “But there’s a blind man from Duluth who feels the sunshine. Be well, be there, hold on” and “Here it comes.” A spoken intro about a grandfather who worked on a Southern railway sets the ambience for “Minor Hill,” a rollicking hoedown kicked along by the dobro of Wayne Bridge (Flying Burrito Brothers) that belies the chill of, “Big Daddy raced the train, most the time he won. It only took one lost race and then his life was gone.”
The sly “Johnny Rotten Cash” finds Mefford’s supple voice revealing explicit encounters with a hooker, the worn record sound underneath his urgent acoustic strumming adding extra grit to the pathos. The lulling, jazzy “Peace in Our Lifetime,” containing a Malone solo to make George Benson smile, employs a famous political quote to describe détente between a couple. Similarly, the dynamically combustive “Vicksburg” - not about the Civil War but a personal battle - tells of a crime of passion upon finding “Sweet Louise” on the floor with a cold and wealthy man who “can’t feel her needs.” The hypnotic title track, about a wild lover the Beat poets could appreciate, contains the startling imagery, “But she jumped on my car, grabbed the wipers and screamed through the glass, ‘loves the world's greatest liar, and a saint for a masterpiece.” “Hundred Watt Suicide Drinker” a country honk slap upside the head with the unfiltered lyrics, “Breathin’ hard against my neck, there’s something you should know before you open up your legs” followed by, “I’m a hundred watt suicide drinker, 'whores, cocaine, propane, and liquor” exposes a man’s temptations with shocking candor.
The upbeat R&B of “I Need a Change,” a sympathetic working class anthem, declares “I woke up to the same old sunrise, I ate the same old eggs and home fries” and “When everybody says to be patient, this patient’s out the door.” The aching country ballad “That’s That” drips heartbreak with Bridge’s pedal steel “weeping” and Mefford soberly confronting the impasse too often separating couples with, “When I rolled in, where the hell you been. Been to Venus, you’re from Mars. You’re in church and I’m in bars.” Analogous to “A Day in the Life” and reminiscent of early Dylan rants, “Another Man’s Lies” closes the show in a scathing attack on the rampant greed of corporate America. Mefford spits accusations with white hot outrage over the dark, pounding blues-rock rhythms clanging like the hammers of hell that give way to wistful, hopeful intertwined guitars in the coda.
Like the Beatles classic, See the Light leaves a lasting imprint in the ear and the soul by creating an unforgettable cast of characters sketched with poetic lyrics, sung with burning compassion, and containing irresistible, memorable melodies. It simultaneously breaks the Fiddleworms good while helping to insure the unrelenting vitality of rock with a social conscience.