PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Grayson Capps & the Stumpknockers: Rott 'N' Roll

Capps holes up in his farmhouse with some friends for a vibrant display of his talents.


Grayson Capps & the Stumpknockers

Rott 'N' Roll

Label: Hyena
US Release Date: 2008-09-09
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon
iTunes

"Rott 'N' Roll" is a term concocted by Grayson Capps's fans to describe his mix of southern rock snarl, hard-charging blues, and introspective balladry. It certainly works as a title for this, Capps's fourth album, which throws all of his styles against the wall to see what sticks. Despite that anything-goes quality -- or perhaps because of it -- Rott 'N' Roll sounds fluid and relaxed. Recorded at Capps's home studio, it's perhaps the closest he's come to capturing the feel of his live show.

Capps starts off slow, almost as if the record is warming itself up. With a relaxed tone, Capps issues a statement of purpose by contrasting his world travels with his roots in "Back to the Country", admires the natural beauty around him in "Arrowhead", and leads a frontporch shoutout to "Gran Maw Maw". Not content to stay in one place, though, the album's just as full of aching blues (the stately "Psychic Channel Blues", the countrified "Big Black Buzzard"), flat-out rock (the hard-charging "Sock Monkey" and the raucous "Big Ole Woman"), and some patented Capps spookiness ("The Waltz", with its increasingly manic rhythm, sounds like it could be the soundtrack to a Southern Gothic tale directed by Tim Burton).

Through it all, his band, the Stumpknockers (Tommy MacLuckie on lead guitar, Josh Kerin on bass, and John Milham on drums), flex plenty of muscle. Reportedly, the whole crew pretty much worked days and partied nights at Capps's farmhouse, and the relaxed sense of camaraderie certainly comes through. Equally adept at chicken-pickin' raveups as they are at backing Capps on his more delicate moments, the band goes out with a bang on the nearly six-minute-long instrumental "Bacon".

Lyrically, Capps mixes the plainspoken and straightforward ("I'm going back to the country 'cause country's what I am") with the literary ("He looks like old Boo Radley / He's pale and his veins are blue / Now he looks like one of them Hadleys / After they've been drunk a month or two"). "Guitar" might be his most unguarded moment put to tape, while "The Fear Fruit Bearing Tree" is an ominous spoken-word piece.

It all makes for a pretty complete picture of Capps, so it's very satisfying in that way. Each of the styles presented here is marked by at least one highlight that makes you wonder what it would sound like if he really plumbed the depths of that particular sound and went for more thematic consistency on an album. "Big Ole Woman", with its lively appreciation for flesh, is a lot of fun, but it's a little jarring placed next to the sensitivity that permeates "Guitar". But that's what you get with Capps; he lays it out there and lets you sort it out. And any wishes about what his records could be probably vary from listener to listener, as we hear a songwriter who continues to realize his potential.

7

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.

Music

Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Music

​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.

Music

The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.

Music

Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.

Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.