The Gourds in Philly on 6/18


Sign in to view read count

AUSTIN, TX -- The Gourds, who according to the Village Voice “are all about wrapping the traditional in the eccentric and unexpected," have completed their eighth album. The CD, titled Heavy Ornamentals, which hit the streets on January 24, 2006 on Eleven Thirty Records through Redeye Distribution. In a day of digital everything, the band recorded the album in glorious analog, with singer / bassist / songscribe Jimmy Smith citing, “People don't leave mistakes in anymore. Everything sounds so perfect it requires less and less talent on the part of the performer."

The 13 new songs on Heavy Ornamentals form a Gourdian knot of material written by chief band scribes Jimmy Smith and Kevin Russell. The tunes bear the traditional touch of knotty beats and poetic non-sequiturs for lyrics. With the band's influences sewn as patchwork hearts on tattered sleeves, Doug Sahm and Johnny Thunders emerge as culture heroes while Schoolhouse Rock, Vincent Van Gogh and Typhoid Mary inspire verses, and an old favorite returns.

The band has been making adventurous recordings since its debut Dem's Good Beeble in 1997 and Stadium Blitzer in 1998. They etched their name with an unexpected bluegrass reading of Snoop Dogg's “Gin and Juice" on the Gogitchershionebox EP, which melded a college radio audience and the Gourds' Americana fans into a hardcore following. And with Heavy Ornamentals, they continue to not only push the envelope but reshape it.

The album contains many future Gourds classics. Notable among them, “Shake the Chandelier" strikes a San Antonio groove and pays homage to Sir Doug and “She's About a Mover" (though its title was inspired by a rap song). “Declineometer," which is a real word, channels two icons of alt-rock's past: Johnny Thunders and Joe Strummer. “Pick and Roll" is a 'filk" song, the genre of music commonly heard at sci-fi confabs. And “Weather Woman" probes the absurdity of the meteorological profession.

Heavy Ornamentals is weighted with classic Gourds elements: enigmatic lyrics, soaring melodies, and an unfettered sense of musical freedom. Those characteristics both intrigue and provoke the listener, who is often at a loss for words to describe the band. That's okay, for the band itself hedges about defining their sound while keeping a firm grasp on that mystical mojo behind it.

The Gourds will tour nationally in spring and summer.

Visit Website

For more information contact .


Jazz News


Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.