Nashville-based writer and musician Ted Drozdowski helms Scissormen, a trio that for the past decade, much like the North Mississippi All-Stars, combined the North Mississippi Hill Country blues with raw garage rock ‘n’ roll and even a little hazy psychedelia tossed in as well. Their new album, the excellent Love & Life, follows that tradition set by legends R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, and Jessie Mae Hemphill, only giving the arrangements an even more ragged tone. Those influences can all be heard on the album’s lead-off track “Beggin’ Jesus”, and we’re very pleased to premiere the new animated video here at PopMatters.
“I like to poke a stick in the mud and see what kind of gas bubbles up from the swamp,” Dowzdowski says. “So one day I had a Les Paul in my lap and came up with this imaginary Howlin’ Wolf riff…I love Wolf. We share the same birthday, 10 June, albeit a couple years apart. And I was thinking about peaches… and the internal conflict between good and evil, which I think about a lot more than peaches, when the notion of writing a first person story about a petty criminal low-life popped into my brain. Those blended into the opening verse about knocking off a fruit stand and the narrative took off from there. Also—and I admit this is a failing—I had wanted to use the world ‘folderol’ in a song. So I kicked that into the mix, too. Overall, I wanted ‘Beggin Jesus’ to sound like something Led Zeppelin might have written if they came from Arkansas. After the song was recorded I handed it off to Mike Windy, a terrific artist in East Nashville, and just let him do his thing. He drew—literally, I guess—on some of my trick slide playing for inspiration and even gave my dog Dolly a cameo. As a performing musician, I’ve often felt like a cartoon. Now it’s a kick to actually be one.”
Love & Life will be released 31 July.
// Notes from the Road
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