The Dirt Daubers have returned....for the most part. Initially a three piece with Mark Robertson(Legendary Shack Shaker) on bass, Jessica Wilkes on vocals, and of course Col. JD Wilkes on harp and banjo, they have now added to the mix guitarist Rod Hamdallah and drummer Preston Corn. Robertson is out and bass duties are filled by JD and Jessica, who alternate depending on who's singing.
As most fans of the band know, this new lineup means a new sound. It's not the acoustic roots/bluegrass sound of the first two albums. The Daubers are now "plugged in" as it were, and while this may turn off some of the purist fans, this is a very interesting, exciting and enjoyable chapter in the Dirt Daubers saga. JD didn't really want to paint himself into a corner. I mean, how many bluegrassy albums does a guy want to put out? The Shack Shakers never really repeated themselves, why should The Dirt Daubers?
Anyhow, Wild Moon is a very fresh sounding album-something new by way of something old in terms of sound. My wife, upon hearing the album said that it sounded "old timey", yet couldn't place the era, and I think that really sums up the album good. Listening to it, you kind of instinctively know that it sounds retro, but instead of merely copying a specific sound of a specific era, using styles all across the board, it comes off as sounding original. This was also what the Shack Shakers would do, but much more chaotic. Wild Moon rocks pretty hard in spots, but all in all, it's a more mellow album than anything by the Shack Shakers.
You have blues, old time jazz and even some dirty sounding hard bar rock. Folks have used "rockabilly" to describe the sound, but I'm not hearing that. I'm assuming most people using that term to describe this probably aren't huge rockabilly fans. The only reason I'm saying that is coz I have an assload of rockabilly albums.
Both JD and Jessica trade off about equally on the vocals again. Jessica sounds a lot more like a smoky nightclub singer here, and it's quite delightful. JD is.....well, he's JD!! And as you would expect, his harp playing is second to none(Track 1 will instantly remind you of that).
I love their first two albums as much as anyone, but I'm really pleased with the path these guys are taking now. Instead of being just another modern clone of an old time genre, these guys are indeed taking it to the next level, as the saying goes. I'm really looking forward to what they do next.