Moreland & Arbuckle play a compelling brand of blues
that blends the best of Hill Country, Rural, and
Mississippi Delta blues into a primal and potent mix.
Having previously recorded an acoustic and an electric
album, their NorthernBlues Music debut, 1861, features
electric and acoustic prominently.
The duo consists of
guitarists Aaron “Chainsaw” Moreland and harmonica
player/singer Dustin Arbuckle, with occasional
assistance from drummer Brad Horner, Chris Wiser on
Hammond B-3, and Jeffrey Eaton on homemade “gas tank
bass” on one track.
The opening cut, a seriously juiced take of Hound Dog
Taylor’s “Gonna Send You Back To Georgia,” threatens to
blow the doors off. The follow-up, “Fishin’ Hole” is a
whimsical tune inspired by Moreland taking his kids
fishing. The gentle rhythms of “Tell Me Why” recalls the
moody Hill Country sound of Mississippi Fred McDowell,
but the groove picks up fast and hard again with
“Diamond Ring,” one of the best cuts on the disc.
Another Hill Country legend, R. L. Burnside, gets a nod
with a spirited cover of “See My Jumper Hangin’ Out On
The Line,” another standout track highlighted by a
strong vocal by Arbuckle. “The Legend” is also a strong
track, but seems a bit out of place here with its
country-western twang. The next three tracks, all
originals, feature Moreland’s slide guitar on “Never Far
Behind,” his acoustic chops on “Teasin’ Doney,” and a
Jimmy Reed shuffle on “Please, Please Mammy.”
things out are an interesting cover of Ryan Taylor’s
“Pittsburgh in the Morning, Philadelphia At Night,”
Wrong I Do,” a gentle acoustic number, and “Wiser Jam,”
an almost jazzy instrumental.
It's hard to believe, but the best merger of Mississippi
Hill Country blues, Delta blues, and rural blues in
years may come from a duo from Kansas. 1861 is an
electrifying set that will earn a spot on your stereo's
regular rotation for a long time with their fresh
interpretation of old classics and new songs that fit
seamlessly with the old. These guys mean business!