It seems that every smart band from the South has to make their southern statement record.
Tom Petty, Jimbo Mathis, and the Drive By Truckers have all made great and provocative records on that theme.
Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires now have done theirs, and it’s fantastic. This record rocks hard. Bains III sings with a reckless passion and defiance, and the band plays like they are barely in control of their instruments, and that they might streak off like wild horses or flaming stars.
The loud and raucous songs have that ’70s boogie riff style that jumps out of the speakers.
The lyrics concern themselves with the aspects of Southern life and culture that make it joyful and worthwhile, which are not part of the “Southern” stereotype. Songs such as “Kudzu and Concrete” also try to make sense of a South that, to paraphrase Lawrence Ferlinghetti, continues to reconstruct itself in its own image.
It is a rare album that can rock this hard and passionately while raising important issues of class, race, and the South. Lee Bains III has made an album that people will be returning to both for the words and the rock.