The good ol’ boys of Ol’Savannah are at it again with their upcoming EP, Don’t Let It Reign. They have three full length albums in their discography so far, and this three-track EP will be added later this month. Back in 2009, Speedy Johnson and Bartleby J. Budde started Ol’Savannah as a songwriting/singing duo and promptly added Kevin Labchuk to their lineup. Over the years they have also had a number of musicians play with them either on tour or in the studio. Kevin Moquin and Matthew Outerbridge sat in with the band for this latest recording.
The album stays true to their spirit and sound. It is modern Americana folk and it’s easy to pick up on the multitude of styles incorporated such as country, roots, bluegrass and r&b. Title track “Don’t Let it Reign” appears first and opens with some strong harmonica. Johnson’s raspy wolfman-esque voice comes in and, if you’ve ever heard it before, there is no question who you are listening to.
“Passenger, Pass On By” is slightly quicker in tempo than the first track, and the string instruments stand out. It sounds like it could be a rail worker’s song with lyrics that speak of land; the theft and destruction of it. “Take your land…leave you homeless away from the river shore” and “Virgin land in tar sands…rape your land, won’t breath no more,” are examples and it ends with a chorus of “hi hoe“…the ever marching to work tune.
When I saw the title “Song for Trayvon”, I passingly wondered who Trayvon was. When I listened to the lyrics it became very clear. Both the music and lyrics on this song are poignant. They point out the difference between the house of God and the house of man and with which one you’ll find justice and which one you might want to be armed before entering.
The album was recorded and mixed by Élie Jalbert of The Unsettlers at Victor Studio. It was mastered by Harris Newman of Grey Market Mastering. The cover art is an abstact painting done by Speedy Johnson himself, and Sasha Endoh created the design.
Written by Joey Beaudin