Mississippi Live & The Dirty Dirty: Way Down Here

~ Thursday, 10 November 2011
Mississippi Live & The Dirty Dirty is Vancouver based singer songwriter Connely Farr and an assortment of friends and session players. The name seems appropriate as the sound is certainly 'dirty', with a straightforward rocking energy that brings to mind bands like Crazy Horse, Gin Blossoms and Wilco. This is rock 'n' roll, with hints of country and blues played with an undeniable enthusiasm that is as infectious as the music.

The live feel of the record is something I really like. It is produced but not over polished. Producer Jon Wood and engineer Brian Barr have done a fantastic job here. The album opens with the Americanaesque Rain Keeper with a great drum sound driving Farr's tuneful vocal drawl, all underpinned with a 'bar room' piano. As if by total contrast, the title track is tuneless and instantly forgettable with Farr mumbling his way through with no conviction of any kind. You normally expect the title track to be the shining star of any album but this really is turgid stuff. Thankfully this is the only real moment of musical suicide and we get back on track with the bluesy Had To Leave Her with some great guitar histrionics from Ben Yardley. The beautiful starkness of Battle Song is a real highlight. This is a song that benefits from the sheer simplicity of the arrangement and is one song that has certainly stuck in my head.

Stranger and Butterfly bare comparison to Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan with the former being a particularly fine song. The short but sweet Banjo Song is certainly an oddball track but it is perhaps my favourite of the 11 track on this album. It is in no way representative of anything else on the album and as such just catches you unaware. The album closes on Wooden Nickles, a building wannabee rock monster that begs to be at least another 3 minutes longer as just as it bursts into life it ends.

Farr certainly has it in him to write brilliant dirty bluesy alt-countryish rock songs, as this album shows... but he also appears to be guilty of being too self indulgent at times. When this album works, it is as good as early Springsteen or pre stadium pomp Kings of Leon and you can't argue with that.


[][][][] (4/5)