Music » Record Reviews

The Old, Weird (North) America of Bloodshot Bill


Here is a record to remind us what rock 'n' roll sounds like. In case you forgot, the unholy noise is what matters most. I still remember my sister harking back to her teenage years, when she was lucky enough to hear "Louie Louie" as it climbed the charts, and the wild speculation in her circle about how dirty the lyrics might be. Legible poetry was not part of the equation. Nor was a thesaurus necessary to feel the impact of Little Richard, the Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird," or Charlie Feathers' "Stutterin' Cindy."

It's a spirit that Bloodshot Bill nails on his records, as one cut after another jumps out of the speakers as from a grotto of molten vinyl, like a vintage comic book suddenly come to life around you. That even his digital releases sound like this is impressive. While this torch-bearer of American murk hails from Montreal, he's declared Memphis his favorite city, and it's fitting that his latest album, Come Get Your Love Right Now, was released on Goner Records.

Bloodshot Bill's latest is in keeping with his past gems, yet never fails to surprise. It's not so much a formula as a bouillabaisse recipe upon which he can build any number of dishes. From the major/minor blurring of the opener that gives the album its name, echoing with brooding background mutterings, to perhaps a musical saw (?) in the next, "Take Me for a Ride." There are Link Wray-like instrumentals, rockabilly doo-wop numbers, and even a honky tonk original, "Just Because." All are full of the shouts and echoes of rollicking characters living in Bloodshot Bill's universe. 
Bloodshot Bill
  • Bloodshot Bill

It should be noted that on record, the wildness is anchored down with a solid "band," with hard rocking drums, electric guitar, and upright bass, all played by Bill, set in a well-crafted slapback landscape that will soon have you forgetting this was just released last month. Party-goers might well ask you, "What thrift store did you find these fuzzy 45's in, again?"

Yet for all the magic of his production methods, there's plenty of energy packed just in his delivery. The boldness of his vocal territory never fails to amuse and amaze. Give a listen online, then check out two upcoming one-man-band gigs where this fearless troubadour can be seen recreating his real gone songs in the moment.

Bloodshot Bill appears Friday, March 29, at DKDC, 8:00 pm; and Saturday, March 30, at the B Side, joined by the Faux Killas and Jack Oblivian and the Sheiks.

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