The persistence of New Orleans R&B in the work of today’s younger artists is reassuring, even when it’s but one hue on a crowded palette. On Volume Three, Dirty Bourbon River Show shoots off Matassan flares of its own from under the patchwork cover of gypsy/brass/funk. Driven by a parade beat, “True Blue Blues” proves those saxophones and swagger are as durable as bargeboard and bad government.
“Say (That You Love Me)” offers a sweet, reedy plea, then a sudden burst of cinematic horns. “I Don’t Know” is a soul ballad from a barroom musical, while “Wolfman” wears a gypsy costume with ease. New horn-based bands have a tendency to dip into vaguely ethnic musical styles rather than forge their own, but things hang together well on this album because the voices are strong and the percussion knows its way around a second line. The shit-talking on “Legit” comes over well-considered changes and, I think, includes a reference to the Wu-Tang Clan.
Vocal harmony is also a strength, as heard on the delicate “Hold ’em High.” Dirty Bourbon scores life with enthusiasm and a capacity to follow directions both local and global.