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Red Dust Rising

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Album Review

Now that the Drive-By Truckers have made it a bit less socially unacceptable to express an enthusiasm for Southern rock, the Dexateens — who were wailing hard and blowing out amps on their self-titled debut — have decided to embrace their Alabama roots with a set of tunes that owes more to Lynyrd Skynyrd and Black Oak Arkansas than the Quadrajets or the Hellacopters. Much of Red Dust Rising sounds like it could have been recorded for Capricorn Records in the early '70s, but with one important difference — while too many of the great Southern rock bands made records that polished off all their rough edges, Red Dust Rising leaves the grit intact and puts it front and center (and with Tim Kerr as your producer, you would expect nothing less). The easygoing but muscular guitar interplay of Elliott McPherson and John Smith packs a bit less wallop than it did on their first album, but still generates plenty of crunch and a potent undertow of redneck soul, with the occasional dollops of lap steel and banjo adding seasoning to the stew. Bassist Matt Patton and drummer Craig Pickering keep things simmering nicely despite the slower tempos; while these songs don't blaze, they add too much tension for anyone to call them "laid-back." And the best songs here, especially "Take Me to the Speedway" and "Coal Mine Lung," confirm that Patterson Hood isn't the only one adding intelligent new wrinkles to the archetypical themes of Southern music. Red Dust Rising is a brave step into an unexpected direction for the Dexateens, and one that fully succeeds; this music is "Southern by the grace of God" in all the best ways.


Formed: 1998 in Tuscaloosa, AL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Playing a gale-force fusion of punk and hard rock fueled by massive doses of guitar firepower, the Dexateens came together in Tuscaloosa, AL, in 1998. After the breakup of his band the Phoebes, guitarist Elliott McPherson met drummer Craig Pickering (aka Sweet Dog), who was also bandless after Verga called it quits. Looking to form a high-powered rock band, the two recruited bassist...
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Red Dust Rising, The Dexateens
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