Slackeyed-Slim 'El Santo Grial: La Pistola Piadosa' Farmageddon

Concept albums are a little thin on the ground in country or for that matter. This album in some ways is not unlike the Louisiana Stripes the second long-form disc on Hank 111's Straight To Hell album. The title loosely translates as The Holy Grail: The Pious Pistol and it tells the story of Drake Savage - one man and one gun. It opens with sounds and voice. What sound like an American Indian flute leads us in to a sparse and jagged musical landscape. Come One, Come All like a traveling fairground barker invites us into this world of weirdness and widescreen wanderings. Slackeye Slim is Joe Frankland who has worked in collaboration with singer/songwriter Graham Lindsey to realize this ambitious project. Across the 14 tracks which make up the whole story we encounter a musical collage and barrage that has whopping trail hands and barking dogs blended with fuzz guitar and a very English voice alongside Frankland's worn baritone that is both narrator and distorted ghost traveller. There are visions of peyote-induced peaks and lonely valleys. An American landscape that is inhabited by men from every continent and from every creed. Indeed the final song A Song Called Love at times sounds, to these ears, like a bunch of Russian sailors out for a good time in Mexico. Which means like any good novel each listener will conjure up there own visual accompaniment for the sounds on offer. The previous album from Wisconsin-based Slackeyed-Slim Texas Whore Pleaser was a more straight forward affair by all accounts compared to this multi-textured concept. It is hard to single out individual tracks, though Vengeance Gonna Be My Name is available on YouTube to hear, it may give you a detail but it won't give you the full picture of this compelling recording. Fans of Hank 111, of Tom Waits, of Jim White, Clexico or Johhny Cash's The Rambler and any forward thinking roots artists should investigate this album. For there is much to savour and hear on repeated listens on what is one of the more outstanding albums released this year.