This is a no-rookie band that writes meaty, heartfelt country blues tunes, and only by the cruel hand of fate is far lesser known than the Drive-By Truckers or Widespread Panic
Writes an admirer, Patterson Hood, in the liner notes of Bloodkin’s Baby, They Told Us We Would Rise Again: “Bloodkin has been through the fire and persevered and come out the other side better and stronger than I ever thought they’d be. They have landed on the best lineup of players they’ve ever had, and seem to have gained control of their demons that two years ago would have seemed beyond impossible. Instead of packing it in and going home (or dying), they pulled themselves up and made their greatest album in a quarter of a century.”
There's much you can learn about Bloodkin from that praise alone: they travel in admirable country, blues, and southern-rock circles; they’ve been around a lot longer than you think; and they’ve been through some shit. You’d probably surmise those latter two points by listening to Baby, They Told Us We Would Rise Again without knowing anything about the band. This is a no-rookie band that writes meaty, heartfelt country blues tunes, and only by the cruel hand of fate is far lesser known than the Drive-By Truckers or Widespread Panic, two bands whose members are pronounced Bloodkin enthusiasts and with whom, where songwriting and musicianship are concerned, Bloodkin is an equal. The partnership of David Hutchins and Eric Carter -- Bloodkin’s guitarist and vocalists -- is decades old, but they know this is probably the first you’ve heard of them. Gather round, and such.
Give this one a spin, and you’ll hear about how the locally-legendary Georgia band fights off internal conflict just long enough to keep itself preserved (“The Viper”), how it loves the smell, taste, and dereliction of the road as much as the triumph (“Summer in Georgia”), and how it can go all hook-filled barroom whenever it wants (“Little Margarita”), yet just as soon turn things regretfully nostalgic (“A Place to Crash”), incisively rocking (“My Name Is Alice”) or even wistful (“Ghost Runner”, which appears to be about small-town baseball.)
Members of the Truckers and Panic -- Mike Cooley and Todd Nance, respectively -- turn up, David Barbe is at the controls, and the official Bloodkin lineup now numbers six members: drummer Aaron Phillips, bassist David Nickel, and guitarists/utility men Eric Martinez and William Tonks. It’s the Hutchens/Carter nexus that’s still keeping things honest, however: that’s a songwriting powerhouse not to be messed with.
Good Lord, may they get some more recognition, this ragged, yet consummately professional Bloodkin. This is an early contender for one of the year’s best, and that’s not the first time that’s happened to them.