Whoa! Where the hell did this guy come from, and why haven't I heard him before?!?! Stuffed to the eyebrows with gritty soul and naked Motown by way of gutbuster blues and smokin-ass rock, A Hundred White Lies opens the CD with daunting force, raw emotionalism, and such guitar playing as will make more than one Hall of Fame ace sit up and shout. This is what I expected out of Eric Gales and several others who in the past were touted as the new generation but who failed to live up to expectations for obvious reasons. Dwight, on the other hand…man, has he got it 'n then some! Catch the primal stomp of the title track right after the opener and, Bertram, if'n you ain't hooked, then don't come drinkin' down to my side of the bar, 'cause me n' da boyz will scare the pisswater outta ya.
By the time the third cut kicked in, Keep on Struttin', I was full-blown sold. Ironically, this CD popped up in my Get These Suckers Reviewed backlist right after MVD's release of Johnny Winter's classic '79 Rockpalast blow-out (here), and Shane's work isn't all that far from a fusion of Johnny's fire and thunder along with brother Edgar's love of the soul side of the house. Dwight's singing voice even has that Texas twang so evident in Johnny's register. Just as impressive is partner Kevin McKendree's keyboard acumen—Love's Last Letter in fact comes across as one of the best rave-ups Leon Russell never wrote—and engineering skills, manufacturing the atmosphere as though from a smoky tavern outside the city limits, a place where cats in the know do their roadhousing. In fact, Dwight and McKendree cover every technical aspect save for the mastering, each phase pin-point precise in preserving the full smoky flavor of the affair, never self-indulgent but always savory to the very last drop of sweat and gristle.
And, man, those backing vocals from Bekka Bramlett and the McCrary Sisters…suh-weeeeeeet! Sugar on top of lightning, gumbo sauce with dirty rice, the earthy side of tarnished angels singing in the parson's hermitage. Then when this shitkicker guitar-slinger cuts in that slide, man o man, not a damn thing is missed in a showcase of how-it-should-be-done, from the mountain folk accents to the deep South murky waters and hot nights, to ebony Chicago/Nashville/Atlanta soul showing the white folk the underside of the Great American Dream, and even to a lusty Rebel Yell the entire lower and middle classes can join in on, East to West, North to South. Dwight is one righteously talented bastard and must, with this release, be reckoned as a full-fledged hellraiser. He's toured for years, put out seven CDs, and clocked in 60,000 units in sales, but goddammit, if this one alone doesn't outsell all the others combined then I'm cashing in my critic's license, buying a bottle of bourbon, and retiring to Jack 'N Jill Monthly to review The Osmonds and Barry Manilow, 'cause something is obviously way the fuck wrong. Before that, though, I'll be playing this disc again at full volume and either outraging the neighbors or welcoming them in for a drunken revel. You, too, are invited.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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