Haven’t I heard this album before? Bury The Hatchet (released April 5th, 2019) by the Auburn, CA trio Shotgun Sawyer is undoubtedly and wholeheartedly a blues rock album. If you’ve ever listened to Led Zeppelin, you know, the band your parents had their first make out to, then you will know the formula. More recently bands like Queens of the Stone Age and the Black Keys have revisited the sound and had major success doing it. If you can borrow from the blues and still invigorate it with enough personal style and inventiveness you can put out a killer record in 2019 and I’ll spare you the drama, Shotgun Sawyer have indeed done so.
The opening track “Ain’t Tryin’ To Go Down Slow,” straight up rips. Riffs that feel a lot like early Black Sabbath, or the Black Keys if they were on speed. If your blood is not pumping faster after listening to this track you really need to rethink your whole life. “(Let Me) Take You Home” keeps the pace high octane, goddamn love those tom rolls! No, it’s not gonna change the face of rock music, but who the fuck cares? It hits you straight in the gut and never really lets you catch your breath and I don’t know about you but that’s exactly what I want from my rock music!
“Backwoods Bear” shows a more playful side to the band; an acoustic, bluesy romp that could have easily come out of Jack White’s catalogue of songs. I’m not so sure it belongs as the third track on the album, I mean, yes, it’s fun and different but I’d have left it more towards the end where I think it could have been appreciated more. I realize it’s 2019 and people care less about track order, it’s all about singles and Spotify playlists and what not, but I still care goddammit. Enough about that, Shotgun Sawyer get right back to rippin’ it with my two favourite tracks on the album “You Got To Run” and “Son Of The Morning,” back-to-back baby and I can hardly contain myself! The former just pounds you with some dirty guitar riffs a pulsating rhythm and some downright ferocious vocals. The latter is a much darker and plodding blues rock banger that reminds me of one of my more recent favourite acts All Them Witches. Full of moodiness and slow building with sliding guitar that all climaxes in a beautiful fuzzed out blues explosion. I’ll truly never grow tired of this stuff!
Bury The Hatchet is a solid offering. Shotgun Sawyer clearly have no doubts about what kind of band they are. They have found their sound, and while it’s a sound that has been tried and tested, they do it fucking well and there will always be a market for heavy blues-rock bands.
Written by Lee Ferguson
*edited by Danielle Kenedy