LEE BAINS III & THE GLORY FIRES
Judging by the retro-wheel’s current Memphis-to-Muscle Shoals compass-point fixation, the South has already risen again... again. And, frankly, God bless its heart — better to suckle at the inspirational teat of Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett, Dan Penn and Chips Moman, Keef and Mick (honorary degrees) and Alex Chilton than, I dunno, Duran Duran or Depeche Mode. Alabama’s Lee Bains, a former member of the defunct Dexateens, brings soulful rock unhinged and unhindered on his fiery debut, There Is a Bomb In Gilead. Like the best songs here, single-of-the-year candidate “Ain’t No Stranger” and the gorgeous “Righteous, Ragged Songs” feature snarling riff work and tasty fills reminiscent of ex-Stones guitarist Mick Taylor and gospel back-up worthy of a secular Staples family. The LP winds up recalling everything from Big Star and Exile on Main Street to the Bar-Kays, pre-crash Skynyrd, Little Feat’s “Willin’” and probably several more seminal Southern rock moments. The music’s so spot-on and all the Walker Percy, “red dirt” and “Heart of Dixie” allusions read so perfectly legit that Gilead comes off as one of the most promising Southern rock debuts in years. The best $5 you’ll spend on this night.