Casey Reid | Cephalclog (Big Muddy)

Casey Reid is the St. Louis equivalent to one of those Disney movies where the underdog sports team beats all the odds and takes home the championship.

 

cd_caseyreidNo, you had it right the first time: the music scene in St. Louis does, in fact, suck. The shining stars are sparse, the dim stars aren't worth remembering, and the countless black holes that swallow up our fair city give the illusion of a desolate, no-talent wasteland. Harsh, I know. At least this review is about one of those few shining stars. Casey Reid is the St. Louis equivalent to one of those Disney movies where the underdog sports team beats all the odds and takes home the championship. In other words, he's an unexpected surprise. With his debut album, Cephalclog, Reid hasn't only opened the door to what St. Louis has to offer, he's shattered the fucker and used it for kindling.

Cephalclog brings Reid's love for gut-turning blues to life and allows him plenty of breathing room with the revolving cast of musicians that the album features—including, but not limited to, Chris Powers Jr. from the 7 Shot Screamers. One of the most interesting characteristics on the album is the blatant unconventional percussion that Reid employs, giving an almost unplanned nature to an otherwise perfectly executed "white-man blues" album. That element of improvisation gives more character than one might realize. It's almost as if anyone could walk into the recording session, sit down with a drum bucket and, with some sense of rhythm, rock out with Reid.

Recorded live in just a few sessions, Cephalclog shares the same high energy that Reid is known for with his live shows. "Black Kisses" stands out not only because of its relentless force, but its personal nature. As a song that embodies feelings of rotten luck, perseverance, heartache, and bouncing back, it brings the whole album together as a potluck centerpiece. Rooted in Americana, blues, and folk, Reid uses every influence flawlessly to create his own death rattle blues. Channeling moods from modern-day folk acts like Devendra Banhart, to early Beck, to classic blues men like R.L. Burnside, Reid hasn't forgotten to develop his own distinct, tangy flavor.

So call it what you will: junkyard blues, whatever. The fact is that the music stands on its own regardless of classification. Reid is pumping out songs like an American songwriter should: quickly, without apologies or reservation, and with strict conviction. St. Louis has always provided a fantastic blues history and maybe in a smaller way, it continues now with a new face and sound. Casey Reid just might be the remedy to our dying scene. Pay attention.

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