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CD Review: Gideon Smith and the Dixie Damned 

South Side of the Moon

The Deal: With various recordings under his belt and having just finished up writing his first book, the reclusive Gid returns to his first love, which is recording – in this case, another full-lengther. Would be easy describing this as a heavy rock/metal effort but it's more. If Antiseen's music is Cancerpunk, then this close relation could be Roadkill Rock, with its emphasis on driving ("Indian Larry," "Black Cat Road"), Southern feistiness, righteousness and plain orneriness with a black-light, trippy overlay.

The Good: Love the high energy levels here. There's a high-octane cameo on, of all things, washboard, by Antiseen's Jeff Clayton, which makes "Black Cat Road" the superlative cut – the washboard creating a more Louisiana, swamp dog appeal. Other songs have a more old-fashioned, down-home, Led-Zep-meets-Lynyrd-Skynyrd vibe, with, Stevie-Ray-Vaughan-ish, moonshine slide guitar and industrial strength drumbeats.

The Bad: Gid attempts tranquil, shimmering arrangements on a few numbers, which don't play to his strengths. If you want the gargling with glass vocals, stick to the up-tempo majority, though some may like the more silent minority.

The Verdict: After a long layoff, health problems and personal problems resulting from the death of his drummer a number of years ago, Gid survives the pain, gathers his energy and delivers the goods. Way better than expected, it's the perfect antidote for your music snob friends. And just where does he get that sub-sonic, hellhound of a voice?

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