Published Sep 25, 2015It has been six years since the last Webb Wilder album, and it feels good to welcome the veteran back. He first made a mark way back in 1986 with the It Came From Nashville album, and he joined the likes of Jason and the Scorchers and the Sluggers back then in showing that Music City could still spawn some great rock'n'roll. Mississippi Moderne doesn't quite match the quality of that debut or second album Hybrid Vigor, but it's another entertaining collection of unpretentious roots-rock that draws upon both country and blues elements.
A 2011 inductee into the Mississippi Musicians Hall Of Fame, Wilder's signature baritone voice sounds like it has been dredged up from the bayou, but it usually has a welcoming rather than sinister vibe. The vibrant playing of his band, the Beatnecks, is supplemented by guest Nashville cats, including the McCrary Sisters (on "If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It"). The album mixes Wilder originals and co-writes (one with the legendary Dan Penn, "Only A Fool," is a highlight) with covers ranging from tunes by Ray Davies ("I Gotta Move") to Jimmy Reed and Charlie Rich. Despite the record's title, there is absolutely nothing "moderne" about the Wilder sound, but those who enjoy some good barroom rock'n'roll with a Southern accent should investigate. (Landslide Records)