When we talk about the term Southern Rock, there are many that conjure up the long-haired redneck hanging a confederate flag out the back of a beat up pick-up truck screaming “Freebird”. However wrong that picture is, Georgia crooner BJ Wilbank’s blows all those stereotypes out of the water. Whatever you think that term is, Wilbanks offers an augmented version. His mixture of gospel, R&B, Motown, and Skynyrd is infectious and it shows on his newest, self-titled freewheelin’ slow-roll; best for a backyard Barbeque, as it is dancing in a sweaty dive bar.
Wilbank’s velvet voice drives the trumpets and the ear candy chorus on album opener “Healin’ My Blues”. “Tied Up & Twisted” puts a drink in hand sitting on a porch swing with your sweetheart. “I Can’t Help It” continues that trend with soft background organ fitting perfectly with Wilbanks smoky growl. “Livin’ Off the Land” could have been a b-side somewhere on The Band’s records. “Cui Bono” is dirty swamp blues, “Country Livin’” is a beautiful ode to home with perfect slide guitar.
Wilbank’s offers no pretension here. He is the real deal with authentic and original rock n’ roll that borrows from the periphery and makes it his own. It’s really good stuff, perfect for the beginning of summer, a stroll down the block, or a drive with the top down.
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