DAMIEN GUNN – “Lion”
Kansas City’s award winning hard country rock band, DAMIEN GUNN + THE BANG BANGS have released their 10 track album, entitled “Truth+Honor+Family+Loyalty”, which showcases American tales of pride, loyalty and patriotism. In short, this band masterfully strikes that difficult balance between delivering on familiar ideals and also exploring uncharted territory. On the whole, this is an album that feels like it could accompany a road trip away from the south or an emotional trip back from the Midwest. It’s a statement of willingness to change, but also of recognizing the power of the past and of home. It’s also a clear affirmation of DAMIEN GUNN + THE BANG BANGS place among the pre-eminent Country-rock acts of the millennial generation.
If you like your country music served with the crust cut off, delicately manicured and quaintly predictable, then you’d better look elsewhere. However if you’re looking for music that immerses you in a sea of sludgy, gritty, thumping and twangy melodies served unfiltered and full-bodied, and mired deep in the authentic Southern Rock identity with a hard Midwest twist, then you have come to the right place.
Furthermore If you held a fantasy draft for the most promising prospects in Country rock of who could rise up and fulfill the legacy first forged by the towering overlords of the franchise like The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd, right beside a few select others would have to be Kansas City’s homegrown offering DAMIEN GUNN + THE BANG BANGS.
Growling guitars and gruff vocals greet you at the very beginning of the album, with the track “Lion” before you are given a rest with the more country material of “Hazy Day”. DAMIEN GUNN + THE BANG BANGS isn’t a Country rock band from the stereotypical standpoint.
Their range may ultimately balance them out as Country rock more than anything, but much of their material could be prefaced with other titles too. And apart from the rock hard anthems, they’re not afraid to pull out a chair and slow things down with slow ballad such as “All I Ever Wanted”.
For all the great tracks on “Truth+Honor+Family+Loyalty”, this album really comes out swinging with its two most outspoken tracks, the pride-filled “Loud American” and the patriotic ode to the marines on “B.A.M.F.”. But DAMIEN GUNN also knows how to lay down a heartfelt romantic track, which is amply displayed on “Girl Why Girl”, or simply have fun with “Koozie”.
The rise to prominence of underground Americana, Alt-country and Country-rock during the last few years has left an impact I don’t think many fans realize. Ten years ago you wouldn’t have heard as much about these independent, non-mainstream acts because they weren’t on the radio or on a major label.
Nowadays with the prevalence of the Internet, any act can standout if they play great music. DAMIEN GUNN + THE BANG BANGS is undoubtedly a group that are going to benefit from this.
“Truth+Honor+Family+Loyalty” is a really solid album full of enjoyable Country-rock jams and some well-composed heartfelt tracks that will capture the thoughts and feelings of the everyday man. I think it’s definitely worth your time, especially if you enjoy some rock and roll with your country. If there’s one thing this album does near flawlessly, it captures both the spirit of country and rock music.
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