Fans of Southern-stewed roots music will rejoice in the fact that itinerant troubadour Grayson Capps’ opening lines to this superb album embody a self-fulfilling prophecy. “Get yourself on home, boy / You been gone too long, child / Now pick up your guitar and sing a song / About people you seen and places you saw,” Capps—a familiar, former New Orleanian displaced after Katrina ravaged his Gentilly home and studio—croons in a twang indicative of his Brewton, Alabama upbringing as he ushers in the debut of an unlikely south Alabama supergroup that is wasting no time in realizing its vast potential. The veteran quintet—Capps, Will Kimbrough, Corky Hughes and Sugarcane Jane duo Anthony Crawford and Savana Lee—formed last winter following a gig at Blue Moon Farm’s Frog Pond concert venue in coastal Alabama’s Baldwin County. The all-acoustic group instantaneously meshed to brew the elusive elixir of music-as-magic, as Kimbrough later posted online: “Within the first five minutes, we were all playing together. Within 10 minutes, we were all singing together.”
Soon afterward, the group went into the studio and, under the direction of Grammy-winning engineer Trina Shoemaker (Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris, Dixie Chicks), crafted in true collaborative style (songwriting credits here are as varied as the instrumentation) 10 tracks that swing between blues, country and folk to forge one foot-stompin’, front-porch-sing-along good time. Highlighted by the soul-stirring Old Timey vibe of “Energy” and BP-oil spill protest anthem “Poison” while distinguished by expert musicianship and soaring vocal harmonies throughout, Willie Sugarcapps represents a melding of talents that, with tour dates popping up to support this release, we can thankfully expect to hear from again soon.