The UK and Ireland has been producing a healthy number of impressive, home-grown Roots/ Americana contenders over the past few years and the signs are that it’s set to continue.
In the previous couple of months alone, W&H has waxed enthusiastically about Roots-related artists as diverse as Trent Miller, Lowlands and David Hope & The Henchmen and with new releases by the likes of Redlands Palomino Company, Monorail and The Carrivick Sisters all waiting patiently to be reviewed, it’s clear that Nashville has long since ceased to call all the shots.
Although he's not reached debut album status yet, it’s clear that ROSCO LEVEE is a man whose name ought to be added to the ones to watch in the near future. A highly accomplished singer/ songwriter based in Kent, he’s recently put together a band of real quality to record a self-titled 5-track EP which is already sounding as good as any Roots-flavoured release you’ll hear all year.
Taking the band’s Kent home base into account, the Rosco Levee band’s ‘deep south’ sound may superficially seem more Maidstone than Mobile, but there’s a startling authenticity to the group’s country-tinged Southern-fried boogie that soon wins you over. Their EP was recorded with Jim Riley at the all-analogue Ranscombe Studio (usually better known for searing garage rockers like the Len Price 3) and it’s an excellent statement of intent.
Opener ‘Old Bessie’ gives you an idea of their capabilities. A tough, two-step bar-room boogie with smart, call and response vocals, fork-tongued slide guitar slithering all over the place and a gorgeous blues-y piano solo from Lee Wilson, it’s a great start and soon built upon by the harder-edged Allman Brothers-meets-‘Exile’-era Stones raunch of ‘Potholes and Roadkill’ and ‘Goldrush’ where a memorably anthemic chorus rises from the swamp.
With its’ rumbling offshoot of the classic Bo Diddley beat, the closing ‘Freaky’ provides a suitably celebratory to the EP, but it’s by no means all heads-down boogie where these guys are concerned. With its’ delicate picking and descriptive mandolin, ‘Never Stops’ may be the obligatory ‘train’ song every self-respecting Roots band needs, but its’ a finely-hewn slice of Gospel-tinged folk-blues on its’ own terms and it pulls up at the platform as possibly the EP’S stand-out track.
Arriving fully-formed and pretty damn fabulous, Rosco Levee and his band of renown are skilfully blending their superior Roots-Rock firewater. Savour your first taste because you’ll want a whole lot more of it before too much longer.
Rosco Levee on MySpace