After You've Gone by the Legendary Shack Shakers is a raw, well-produced album filled with honky-tonk blues tunes, jazz shimmer and alt-rock resonance.
The Southern gothic band is led by harmonica player J.D. Wilkes, who's accompanied by three other players: Rod Hamdallah on guitar, Fuller Condon on bass and Preston Corn on drums. Wilkes' blues and honky-tonk technique can be compared to Jerry Lee Lewis, and his vocal tone with David Byrne, although he sometimes buries them under distortion, as on "Curse of the Cajun Queen" and "Long Legs."
After You've Gone establishes old-time jazz, burlesque and carnival accents on "Worried," but remain authentic to their blues and Southern gothic sound with a gritty distortion on the guitar. A doo-wop vocal clip on "War Whoop" gives a pop melody to the rock based lullaby, and in keeping with the '50s trend, the Legendary Shack Shakers add a saxophone on their title track, "After You've Gone."
Out of the 13 songs here, only two feature primarily piano-based components: "Silent Key" and "Invisible Hand," which seem misplaced and discontinuous as the final two tracks. Yet, After You've Gone is a satisfying listen that pushes the boundaries of Southern gothic music. (Last Chance)