Grayson Capps Rott and Roll

Take the poetry of Texas troubadour Townes Van Zandt, combine with Steve Earle’s edgy attitude and then stir it up with a little cup of bayou blues, à la Howlin’ Wolf, and you get a taste of Capps’ scrumptious gothic gumbo. The title refers to the songwriter trying to strike a balance between the sinful side of living as a musician ("Rott”) with getting back to an easier, simpler way of country living ("Roll”). It’s also a metaphor for his old home (New Orleans), which he left after Hurricane Katrina, and his new life in Franklin, TN. While the Big Easy influenced his last record, Wail & Ride, here Capps draws inspiration from his newfound rural roots. Capps also continues to be inspired by the characters he meets in his wanderings — from ne’er-do-wells to barroom philosophers — showing listeners we all share the same hopes and fears no matter what side of the tracks we’re born on. One of the most arresting compositions is "The Fear Fruit Bearing Tree,” a spoken-word piece that reflects upon a reactionary society with lines that linger long such as, "Disease is the ease from which we run from the truth.” Rott and Roll finds this Alabaman with his mojo working in high gear. (Hyena)