(5 / 5)
A sparkling gem of an Americana album from Copper Bets; a cracking US outfit who should be on the bill of any discerning roots music festival if their live set is as classy as their debut album “Habitual Harmony”.
A band whose players met at a blues jam open mic’ night in their home state of Pennsylvania. The album was recorded in Marietta, Georgia, USA, produced by Copper Bets and Bobby Gentilo.
11 originals penned by Drew Kiniry (seven songs) – who plays guitar/slide, percussion and vocals; Gena McKibbben (two songs) who plays guitar/slide, lap and pedal steel, mandolin, organ and vocals; Peter McKibben (two songs), who plays guitar, harmonica and vocals. Joined by drummer/percussionist Kelly McClain and bassist Keith Weisser.
Opener “Thin Walls” melds prog’ rock, the rockier side of Fleetwood Mac and tasty Southern rock such as The Allman Brothers. Very strong opening gambit which holds the attention for the track’s 4.41 duration.
Sizzling slide guitar, very decent vocals and a smattering of blues gob iron (aka harmonica), thrown in for good measure. Drummer and bass player lock tight and set concrete foundations for the ensemble. Heck of a start……………….Second cut, “Stay Right Here” is less rambunctious; more Southern country-rock in style, and a really nice job.
If you dig The Allmans and Skynyrd, this crew should be right up your street. Three in, “Shambles” put me in mind of Neil Young, which is no bad thing, is it?
Nice approach on the faultless lead vocals sharing across this set – between Geena McKibben on two, Peter McKibben on two and Drew Kiniry on six. Powerful, solid as a rock outfit with killer guitars and tight fit material.
Track seven slows down the pace to offer up a lovely instrumental, title track “Habitual Harmony, channelling “Jessica”/the Allmans. Really nice job, before heavier vibes; some down and dirty blues rock with “The Helper”.
Another high point of the collection here is “True Force Of Nature”, and the lovely penultimate track, “Too Little, Too Late” featuring some luscious pedal steel licks. The album closes with Lowell George meets Bluegrass flavours on “All My Good Friends”.
Not a duff cut here, and as good as any major label releases coming out of Nashville in recent times. I must say; I do get bored with most attempts at the Southern rock genre, that often has as much power and energy as road kill. But these boys and girls have got it bang on.
Country, country rock, country blues, Southern rock, Americana…..call it what you will. I call it really, really neat and well deserving of a global audience. Habitual listening: Hell yeah!
By Steve Best
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’