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Erik Vincent Huey (from the album Appalachian Gothic available on ) (by Brian Rock)
Surreal McCoys frontman, Erik Vincent Huey pens a love letter to West Virginia on his solo debut Appalachian Gothic. Less boisterous than his previous work, he nevertheless maintains his edge and energy as he focuses his razor-sharp insights on the plight of the forgotten men and women from his home state.
Lamenting the fate of the abandoned coal towns that dot the Appalachians, Huey delivers a haunting, spoken word eulogy in “The Bride of Appalachia”. Describing the ‘slow motion suicide’ of the forgotten people and burned-out towns of the region, Huey paints a grim picture of despair against a somber accordion and dulcimer dirge. Moving from poem to song, he continues his tale of tragedy on the Folk Blues of “The Appalachian Blues”. Emphasizing the literal darkness of a coal miner’s life, Erik Vincent Huey sings ‘my daddy worked the mines and I followed him down under. The foreman said ‘get used to the view’. “A Coal Miner’s Son” uses traditional, acoustic Folk rhythms to mourn the decay of ‘the engine room of the industrial age’. Huey personifies the spirit of the displaced and unemployed drifters on the Country Noir of “Death County”. Adding electric guitar, he continues his litany of lament on the Folk Rock stylings of “The Devil’s Here in These Hills”. Singing ‘if the work don’t kill you, being out of work will’ Huey neatly summarizes the damned if you do, damned if you don’t fatalism that pervades the region. It’s a hard story to tell, but Huey shines an unflinching lyrical spotlight on the issue; showing empathy and compassion for the nameless hoard that is too often referred to in statistical numbers.
After duly noting the negative, Erik Vincent Huey somehow manages to find a few silver linings. Turning to love and music, he finds areas where the people of Appalachia can still find solace if not hope. “That’s What Jukeboxes Are For” is a surprisingly cheerful Honky-Tonker guaranteed to make you forget your troubles for a few minutes. Laura Cantrell adds her vocals to give the song a softer, feminine touch. Huey and the band increase the tempo on the Cow Punk love song, “Winona”. The band breaks into full-on Rock’n’Roll on the rollicking “A Heart Disease Called Love”. “Lucy” is a swampy, Rock song that approaches love from a more physical than emotional angle. Turning back to Honky-Tonk, Huey plays with Country cliches on, “You Can’t Drink All Day”. Daring to venture into the realm of hope, he delivers an optimistic Folk Rock anthem in, “Yours in the Struggle”. Reminding us to see each other as brothers and sisters, and calling for us to work together, Erik Vincent Huey sings ‘at the barricade walls until freedom descends, I’ll be yours in the struggle till the very end’.
Like fellow Punk to Americana converts, Dave Alvin, Willie Nile, and Blag Dahlia, Erik Vincent Huey trades snarl and swagger for a more Springsteen-esque approach. Focusing more on story than sonic fury, Appalachian Gothic weaves a bittersweet tapestry of trials and tenacity that salutes the power of the human spirit to persevere.
Listen and buy the music of Erik Vincent Huey from AMAZON
Please go to the Erik Vincent Huey website for more purchase and artist information
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