Album Review

Have Mercy… A Great Album by a Humble Bunch!

Handsome and the Humbles - Have Mercy

There simply seems to be no end to the musical reserves that in East Tennessee and Knoxville in particular. Nashville may have the panache, but when it comes to maintaining a real roots regimen, those that reside on the other side of the plateau are easily on equal footing. Consider the case of Handsome and the Humbles, a sturdy six piece outfit whose grit and resolve belies their unusual handle. Equal parts drive and determination, weariness and resolve, Handsome and the Humbles never falter when it comes to expressing life’s setbacks and disappointment, even though they don’t wither under the duress either. Certainly the song titles tell it all -- “Hard Times,” “Miss You So Much,” “Tell Me a Lie” -- but in spite of those bleak circumstances, there’s a measure of steadfast swagger as well. Most of the songs find them maintaining a steady pulse, and even in the face of the most dire circumstance, they maintain eloquence in their expression and a vibrance in their delivery. At times they tread the same turf as the Avett Brothers, especially on a song like “True Believer,” where a shift in sentiment still allows for an upturned gaze. Consequently Have Mercy echoes the plea central to its title, even though there’s never any doubt that the request will ultimately be rewarded.  They deserve that and far, far more.