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The Deslondes

The Deslondes – 2015 (New West)

Reviewed by Brian Baker

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It's not hard to draw a laser straight line between The Deslondes' New Orleans home base and the quintet's twangy, tangy R&B/Soul gumbo on their eponymous debut. Just press play and marvel at the loping authenticity of the opening track and first single (how very Motown), the Fats Domino-flavored "Fought the Blues and Won." But subsequent listens reveal that The Deslondes aren't content to rely solely on the Crescent City's spice rack for their sonic stew; hints of Hank Williams ("Heavenly Home"), John Prine ("Less Honkin' More Tonkin'"), Doug Sahm ("The Real Deal") and Woody Guthrie ("Those Were (Could've Been) the Days") all permeate the band's presentation the way campfire smoke seasons an outdoor dinner.

All of the above is possible because The Deslondes is a stacked deck of hypertalented aces and jokers. All five members - vocalist/guitarists Sam Doores and Riley Downing, vocalist/stand-up bassist Dan Cutler, vocalist/percussionist Cameron Snyder and pedal steeler/fiddler John James Tourville - are accomplished songwriters, and everyone contributes material. The four vocalists alternately take the lead while the other three harmonize with sibling power and synchronicity. The Deslondes' greatest gift is the incredible amount of musical waterfront they effortlessly cover; authentic country, ass-shaking boogie woogie, chugging roots rock, dusty folk, heartfelt Stax soul and Nawlins swing and sway, cross-pollinated and cultivated into a beautiful and unique new American hybrid. The Deslondes isn't just one of your new favorite bands, it's all of them.