Thursday, June 23, 2011

EP Review: The Mule Gonna Kick Your Head In: The Hellbent Honky Tonk Stomp Hillbilly Blues One Man Band EP

Title:  The Mule Gonna Kick Your Head In: The Hellbent Honky Tonk Stomp Hillbilly Blues One Man Band EP
Artist:  Bloody Ol’ Mule (Facebook, MySpace, ReverbNation, Last.fm)

Bloody Ol’ Mule is Shilo Brown’s one-man country/blues band and The Mule Gonna Kick Your Head In… is his latest release, a limited edition CD/DVD (only 100 have been made, all signed and available at upcoming live shows).  The EP includes six songs that cover the traditional blues/country topics of love, cheating, and the Devil.  The songs are all extremely well played, Shilo’s singing is quite good, and the production is fitting for the music (good but not too slick or over-done).  The standout moments are “When Thunder Claps the Sky,” “Hayride to Hell” (with its great opening guitar riff), and the fantastic “Sweet Kelty Lonegrove Blues” (a song with excellently played country guitar that takes you down a long winding road and hooking you in with the opening plea “Please tell me, please tell me, that you love me so”).  My only complaint with the EP is the somewhat extensive use of curse words.  I’m not a prude, in fact at times I have the mouth of a sailor, so as a general rule I have no problems with “bad words.”  My complaint here is that they are used so often that they lose their potency.  Those words should be used to drive a point home and not be the center of a song because when they are over used the listener can often lose sight of the greater meaning of the song sifting through the curse words.  Being a parent may also have something to do with this criticism.  Other than that though, this really is an excellent release. 

Shilo’s been playing and releasing music as Bloody Ol’ Mule for quite a few years now.  What really impressed me about The Mule Gonna Kick Your Head In… is how far he’s come as a musician, singer, and songwriter.  I have a couple of the early Bloody Ol’ Mule CDs and while they were pretty good, this release is better by leaps and bounds.  Shilo has obviously honed his craft other the years and it shows in his execution of these songs.  His voices are smoother and more at easy and his guitar playing is tighter and more natural than on those earlier releases.  Shilo is a wicked talent guy and he is also super cool.  It’s great to see him grow in his writing and his music.  If you’ve never heard Bloody Ol’ Mule and you are a fan of traditional country and/or the blues then I highly suggest that you check out The Mule Gonna Kick Your Head In…   

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