The heavy rock band known as the Texas Hippie Coalition from Denison in Texas, (never guessed that did you?) release their 6th album and after numerous line-up changes seem to have settled into their own particular groove. They call it “Red Dirt Metal”… I call it heavy southern rock with enough metal running through it to weld everything together.
Their last album, Dark Side of Black was a strong one and band leader/vocalist Big Dad Ritch has taken all that was good on songs like ‘Knee Deep’ and ‘Hit It Again’ and improved on the formula. Backed by guitarists Cord Pool and Nevada Romo with Larado Romo on bass and Devon Carothers on drums they have crafted a worthwhile and clever twist on all of the southern rock tropes on the new High In The Saddle release.
Opening with ‘Moonshine’ you’re left in no doubt as to their intent… this is heavy, southern and damn good rock of a style that is different enough to stand out from the crowd. This is like CCR and Blackfoot mixed up with some serious weight, they maintain the ethos and lyrics but give it so much more dynamism. ‘Dirty Finger’ is genius in the interpretation of a few similarly structured songs and, again, heavy them up. I mean, “let me see your dirty finger in the air, like you just don’t care” shouldn’t work, but it does. ‘Bring It Baby’ is southern rock via Metallica but good. ‘Tongue Like a Devil’ is my favourite with its brilliant riff, chorus and lyrics, the guitar solo is fitting, technical and too short. ‘Stevie Nicks’ doesn’t go fluffy as the title may suggest, but stays heavy and I will let you decide quite what kind of tribute this is. ‘BullsEye’ has some acoustic lightness to the intro and builds to another bludgeoning of southern rock heaviness. ‘Blue Lights On’ wraps it up with sirens, riffs and lyrics that may not refer to the police. This is another strong hefty rock track and a suitable way to close this powerful and thoroughly enjoyable album.
This is how so many of the pretenders to the southern crowns could and should sound like; This album is a blast from start to finish. High In The Saddle by Texas Hippie Coalition is out on 31st May 2019.