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Brother Dege

Folksongs of the American Longhair

(GolarWash Labs & Records; US: 9 Mar 2010; UK: Import)

Santeria frontman Dege Legg presents himself here as Brother Dege, a guitar-slidin’ force of nature whose songs could fill a hall with their effortless, mostly-acoustic verve. Ranging from quietly desperate to careening full-tilt boogie, Folksongs of the American Longhair is a testament to the idea that less can, in fact, be considerably more.


Opening tracks “Hard Row to Hoe” and “The Girl Who Wept Stones” establish the energy (copious) and prevailing tone (angsty), while eight-plus minute epic “House of the Dying Sun” builds from a slow-sliding, Paris, Texas-type opening to something approaching transcendence by way of fury. That fury is evident as well in “The Battle of New Orleans”, and there is swagger by the ton in “Too Old to Die Young”, “Dead & Gone”, and “The World’s Longest Hot Dog” (featuring the immortal line “Freaktown is where I’m from”). There’s even a little nod toward sensitivity in “Old Angel Midnight”, but maybe the less said about that, the better.


Fans of slide guitar, Southern gothic, or plain old rock & roll attitude need to run, not walk, and check out Brother Dege ASAP. This outstanding record is a case study in how one guy with a steel guitar and minimal accompaniment can out-rock a roomful of electric bombast, given the right songs, the right skills, and the right voice. Brother Dege has ‘em all.

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DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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Brother Dege - Dead & Gone
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