Low Society: Sanctified (Rezonate Records)
“This band…is a feral and untethered spirit…powerful, virtuosic.” C. Michael Bailey.
On their 3rd studio album, Mandy Lemons and Sturgis Nikides have crafted a wonderfully variegated slice of Americana. There’s the blues, for sure – and it’s Sanctified – but this band’s palette is much more varied than simply classic blues songs. Songs like New York City Boy #3, or Nina are just really good songs, while Sanctified, River of Tears and Here Comes the Flood tread more familiar blues lines. There’s nothing predictable about this fine album, though, with Nikides virtuosic slide guitar on display throughout, allied to Lemons’s powerful, but controlled and emotion-stoked vocals.
There are two covers on the album. The opening track, John Prine’s Angel From Montgomery, is carried off with some aplomb by Lemons, never falling prey to sentimentally and sounding thoroughly authentic. Etta James’s I’d Rather Go Blind makes for a fine closer, with Lemons’s vocals providing the required amount of ache without ever going over the top. The other eight originals are all cool songs, and well arranged and produced.
Mandy Lemons’s singing performance is top notch throughout, ranging from blues powerhouse to urgent to heart-wrenching to sensitively judged. And yet it’s the combination and interplay between her voice and Nikides’s exquisite guitar work – particularly slide guitar – that makes this album such a pleasure.