We were so thrilled to see this one come to the top of the reviews pile here at the Send Me Your Ears Studio today. Down South Pepper band have just released their latest song, Son of a Gun, and for lovers of outlaw country, drop everything and listen to this!
Son Of A Gun starts ominously with a bell toll, but you’re very swiftly along for the ride of your life with a train shuffle rhythm and a fun blugrassy/alt-country/outlaw song that sounds like its straight out of Oklahoma. Well… you’d be wrong to think that. Down South Pepper band tell us they’re from Oslo, Norway. Are they sure?!!! This is such classic North American Country Jamboree music that we’re blown away at the authenticity of it.
Within 5 seconds, if that, you know what you’re going to get with this song. It’s immediately just fun. It’s foot stompingly good music played by exceptionally skilled musicians. Some of the guitar playing, particularly the licks and the solo are world class, and the band are as tight as hell. They seem like a bunch of guys who are well aware that they’re damn good, but are just out there having a good time. This isn’t just your standard simple outlaw country stuff. There’s a depth to Son Of A Gun that you often don’t find in this style of music. Sure, it’s a familiar chord sequence and well used instrumentation for this style of music, but its the level of musicianship that takes Down South Pepper Band a cut above the rest.
There’s some nice touches with harmonica fills, and at times, an organ fills out the sound as well. We were very impressed with the dynamics of the song; it didn’t just start, play for a bit, and then stop as is often the case in country music. Son Of A Gun had a lovely breakdown section, a superb guitar solo and a wonderful end with hammond, church choir sound and just the cheekiest laugh we’ve ever heard from the lead vocalist. Are Down South Pepper Band having fun? A resounding “yes”.
The lead vocals are powerful and strong with some really great grit and attitude in them. Backing vocals are utterly flawless and the instrumentation is positively virtuoso at times.
Lyrically, Son of a Gun paints a great picture, too; “My father was a hard headed man. A farmer with a gun and a bible in his hand” That tells you absolutely everything you need to know about the subject matter of the song, and whilst it’s a typical country music style subject matter, the lyricist paints an expert picture very quickly and easily.
Son of a Gun is well mixed and mastered. We’d suggest a handful of tiny adjustments as follows to bring this from excellent to world class;
We’d high pass around 35Hz to cut out some rumble in the low end that most speakers can’t handle. We’d give a little boost around 90Hz to give some more punch to the kick. A cut at 4-500Hz will balance out a few frequencies in the vocal track and a slight boost in the top 2 octaves with a cut around 7-8kHz (to avoid excessive sibilance) will add some brightness to the overall track and make the cymbals really shine.
We were introduced to a new favourite Outlaw Country artist today; the Down South Pepper band will tick all the boxes for you if you are impressed by spectacular musicianship, catchy choruses and powerful imagery.