The Tyburn Jig, High Noon Moon
Welcome to the Wild New West, folks. Despite their English-derived name, with High Noon Moon, The Tyburn Jig have carved what sure seems to me like a brand-new little musical niche; they’ve wedged themselves in this strange, half-spooky corner between the gloomy American-Gothic feel of Nick Cave, the spaghetti Western sounds of Ennio Morricone, and stark, low-voiced, old-school country, and what comes out of that collision of styles is something very cool.
More than anything else, what The Tyburn Jig remind me of the most is the late Johnny Cash — with singer Brad Gibbs’ Cash-like bass-baritone voice, it’s hard to get away from it. And hey, I’m not complaining; Gibbs lends an awesome gravitas to the High Lonesome guitars, rumblin’-train drums, and tales of woe and poor judgement, and the band wouldn’t work nearly as well without his voice.
Of course, I can’t help but smile when I hear somebody playing a damn fine pedal steel, so guitarist/pedal steel player Matt Case has me won over nearly from the first few notes of “Survived My Life.” The opening tune is one of the “straighter” tracks here, playing country like it used to be played while Gibbs spins out the story of his own sordid past, marveling at the fact that he’s managed to stay alive this long.
Then the band hits “Amber Skies” and drives off in a wholly different direction, throwing surfy, Dick Dale-esque guitars on top of a decidedly Western-sounding rhythm (courtesy of drummer Matt Gibbs and bassist Scott Sofer). The result reminds me of an Austin band I’d figured nobody but me even remembered named Death Valley; like these guys, that band blended together surf-rock and spaghetti-Western arrangements, and I’m happy as hell to hear somebody following in those footsteps (whether they realize they are or not).
The Jig rolls on from there, rambling through the downtrodden resignation of “Too Far Gone” and the speedily countrified “Terrified of Love,” before closing with the excellent “Under The Table,” which sounds like it damn well could be a Cash song, with Gibbs singing about his true love, the one woman who could always drink him under the table. It’s great, fun stuff.
It doesn’t always work perfectly, mind you — the lyrics to “Terrified Of Love,” in particular, while open and disarmingly personal, take some weird turns — but even then, I can live with it, so long as I can always go back to the other four songs on here. Expect these guys to do some truly great things on down the road, y’all.