Album Review

Petunia & The Vipers - Inside of You

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First thing I thought when I heard Petunia & The Vipers' first album was, I wonder if Petunia is the guy's real name.  After hearing the album I was so taken aback I stopped thinking altogether.  They played the strangest mishmash of twenties and thirties country/swing/gypsy and God knows what else I'd ever heard.  The thing was, though, that they played it so damn well, and that is why I'm writing this.  Never heard them?  It's time you did.  Now, pay attention!

That video appeared on the scene in 2010.  Seriously, no one saw these guys coming after seeing that?  My only guess is that no one saw it.  Not anyone who really understood what was going on.  A bit of Pee Wee King in there, a pinch of Hank Williams, a tsp of Bill Haley?  How'd THAT get in there?  God knows, but these guys are no one trick pony.  Here is a vid from 2012.  Boy does this bring back memories of sitting around the ol' console when I was a kid!

It ain't the yodeling, it's the music!  And in this day and age--- the age of overnight acceptance thanks to some common thread the "listening public" seems to have--- you would think that these guys would have blown the Americana circuit wide open.  It happened with Carolina Chocolate Drops.  It is happening with St. Paul & The Broken Bones.  It is happening with Shovels & Rope.  The Vipers are in the same class, easy.

They have just released a new album, Inside of You, which takes things a step further.  A little more harsh, a little more dance-y, a little more... well, you know... more.  I thought this would be a cannon shot across the bow of an audience screaming that there is just no good music anymore, but evidently they are too busy scouring those box sets of superstars to pay attention.  Then again, it is early and if you can say nothing else about Petunia & The Vipers, you can say that they are hard-working sonsabitches.  If they could, they would play everywhere at once but unlike Trans-Siberian Orchestra, their music is not so easily cloned.  

The new album begins with a semi-rocker ("Runaway Freight Train Heart") a la Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" and while it is not that song, it borrows enough from it to drive a ways down the road.  "Forgotten Melody" relies on jazzy riffs, "Bicycle Song" flashes back to the fifties and the sound of Hank Williams, "Primitive Love" rides deep guitar echo fifties rockin' guitarists would have loved, and that's just a few highlights.

They're from Canada, you know.  Think that's why few south of the border are finding them?  God knows it was easy enough for Canucks to find success in the States in the old days--- Hank Snow, Montana Slim, and Bob Nolan (Sons of the Pioneers) being prime examples.  Perhaps the new paradigm, without radio as driving force, makes it a bit harder.  I cannot see them being stopped, though.  There is a ton of talent in the band and with an oddball as talented as Petunia, they have a good shot.

I haven't found a video of a song from Inside of You to post yet, but when I do, you'll see it.  In the meantime, here is another which should whet your appetite for anything and everything these guys have done.  Man, I love these guys!  Yee-haw!

Way Down Here from Petunia on Vimeo.

You can check them out here.  Tell 'em I sent you.

Good to know, Trapline.  The reference to the movie will be used in future writings.  Had a chance to see the band in Cottage Grove OR a few months ago but the weather was so bad I couldn't make the drive.  I'll catch them next time around, for sure.

Thanks for the kind words, Petunia is in a class by himself...truly.  The musicians he gathers are all top notch.  Look for the movie "North of Hell", Petunia and the Vipers have four songs in the soundtrack...probably released this fall.  Thanks again for keeping independent music alive.

They're like no other band I've heard recently, that's for sure.

'bout time, is all I can say. But seriously, they're in a class all their own. Those others don't hold a candle...