Armed with one of the most garbled mouthfuls of a band name out there, Slow Joe Crow and the Berserker Blues Band is a notable entry in the Louisville heavy rock scene. They debuted with 2015’s We Are Blues People, a four song EP that could never be accused of false advertising. Unfortunately, the group disbanded upon the release of this full-length debut, but they left us with a glimpse into what could’ve been.
Much like groups like All Them Witches and The Midnight Ghost Train, Slow Joe Crow isn’t necessarily metal, but they manage to be pretty damn heavy. Despite the stoner tinges and fuzzy rumble felt throughout, the music is firmly rooted in blues tradition as tracks like “Meet Me at the Bottom” and “Broken Voodoo” offer modernized updates on the old “Hoochie Coochie Man” rhythms. There is also a distinct Americana vibe throughout largely thanks to the vocals aiming for Mark Lanegan, and “Paper Hearts” in particular sounding like something the Drive-By Truckers would put together.
The music also tends to feel like it’s building up to something, though what it is seems to depend on the song. “Blues for Lost Sons” uses its drab dynamics to fuel a murder ballad narrative, while “Electric Mud” explores a series of loose jams that thankfully justify the eleven minute running time. Every band seems to have a universal theme, but it’s rare to see one this flexible.
Whether you’re into doom metal, delta blues, or anything in between, Long Way Home is worth recommending to anyone that’s into a heavy groove. There are a lot of influences at work but it never sounds played out. It would’ve been great to see this band develop further, but hopefully there will be others in the near future exploring their template.
“The Ocean and the Wave”
“Meet Me At The Bottom”
“Blues for Lost Sons”