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Secret South

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Album Review

Sin, salvation, deliverance, redemption, the Holy Spirit, divine intervention, and prayer; it's all in a day's work for 16 Horsepower singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist David Eugene Edwards. On their third album and first for indie Razor & Tie, the band works within the unique sound it has already defined. With a voice as windswept, barren, and generally spooky as the Bates Motel, Edwards unravels 11 mini-sermons with a frightening intensity and emotional edge. When he sings, the ghostly moan that emanates sounds like he's overcome by forces beyond his control. It's that creepy voice, similar to Michael Been of the Call, along with sparse but powerful instrumentation and a fire-and brimstone-lyrical slant, that separates 16 Horsepower from the rest of the alt-Americana pack. Seldom have banjos, violins, organ, and bandoneon (an old accordion that helps define the band's unique sound), let alone guitar, piano and, standup bass, seemed quite as intimidating and brooding as in the hands of this band. The songs are texturally diverse, but the dark, menacing atmosphere, especially in the stark banjo-led disc-closing "Straw Foot" and the pounding album opener "Clogger," is pervasive, giving the disc an ominous feel that rarely lets up. Their unadorned version of the traditional "Wayfaring Stranger," with Edwards singing through what sounds like a paper cup, could have come off an old Library of Congress album. Although they're working within a genre they practically define and this album doesn't push them in any radical new directions, Secret South is another worthy entry into the catalog of a band unafraid to explore the shadowy side of spiritual territory with the passion, fervor, and conviction of a backwoods preacher.

Customer Reviews

Really?....First review?

This must be a mistake or there was a reset on this albums reviews. This album is definately more intense
then the two prior but at the same time a bit more accessible. This is yet another great piece of work from a band that never got its due.

Would have loved to see them live!

Just discovered these guys and even though I don't buy into the whole religious thing myself, David Eugene Edwards stays true to himself and his beliefs. His passion comes out in his music and words. Absolutely love just about anything Sixteen Horsepower puts out.


Formed: 1992 in Denver, CO

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

16 Horsepower were a Denver-based alternative country band that revolved around the unique songwriting and singing of David Eugene Edwards. The band made its name with music that combined rural backwoods kitsch with edgy, off-kilter country-rock. Teaming up with drummer Jean-Yves Tola and bassist Pascal Humbert in the band's original lineup, Edwards lost the latter member when the band relocated to Denver from California, adding Keven Soll to the roster instead. The group's eponymous debut EP was...
Full Bio
Secret South, 16 Horsepower
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Customer Ratings