Devils In Dust Album Review By Laura Blackley

Devils In Dust Album Review By Laura Blackley

Every once in awhile two singers meet—people that were born to create music together. Gram Parsons and Emmylou, Johnny and June, and more recently Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.Leigh Glass and Corey Bullman embody this right combination of tone, breath, and mystery—lovingly rendering vignettes of fast cars, shadowy figures, and something just short of redemption on the pair’s self-titled release “Devils In Dust.”

Leigh Glass and Corey Bullman embody this right combination of tone, breath, and mystery—lovingly rendering vignettes of fast cars, shadowy figures, and something just short of redemption on the pair’s self-titled release “Devils In Dust.”

Glass and Bullman put to rest any tired old notion that the singer is somehow ‘less than’ the rest of the band.

These two are the band.

The music is a steady rock, working in collusion with the voices to drive home an emotional resonance not found in most commercial offerings in this age we live in. This is due in no small part to the contributions of longtime Devils In Dust musical collaborator/drummer Jacob Baumann.

It also may have something to do with a guy named Dewey Lindon Oldham, who played keys on albums from everyone from Bob Dylan to Aretha Franklin to Etta James. Spooner Oldham got his nickname from when, as a small boy he reached for a pan of hot water on the stove and a spoon flew into his right eye—permanently blinding him in that eye.

Oldham developed his intuitive and improvisational style as a piano player from the time he was a high school musician, leaning heavily on the strains of gospel he had grown up learning in church in his hometown of Center Star, Alabama. He later forged a reputation as one of the linchpins of the storied ‘Muscle Shoals Sound.’

Glass and Bullman met Oldham at a gig, and he was impressed with their songs. The elder statesman of American music urged the two to make a pilgrimage down South to Muscle Shoals’ Fame Studios to record their material.

“He looked at me and said ‘I will make sure you can afford me,’” Glass relates.

“So we got ourselves a seedy hotel room down in Muscle Shoals, called our friend Evan, a bass player from Atlanta and asked him to come down… and we found ourselves… at Fame Studios,” the singer continues.

The last two tracks of “Devils In Dust” were recorded down in Muscle Shoals. The lead-off tracks, however, were recorded at Echo Mountain Recording Studio in Asheville, a place that Glass likens to “a second home” for the band.

Mike Ashworth, drummer for the Steep Canyon Rangers and longtime friend of Glass and Bullman, produced the Echo Mountain sessions as well as lent his talents on bass. Mike Guggino from Steep Canyon Rangers also played mandolin on two tracks.

“We are writing soundtracks for people’s lives, based on our own experiences,” says Glass.

“Devils in Dust” smacks us with our own shadows, with falling out of love, with empty highways, and dark nights of the soul. This is an album that lays its humanity out on the table and sweetly invites all of us to partake.

Never has dirt under the nails sounded so sexy.

By Laura Blackley