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Thirteen Stars – Finest Ramshackle Jam Award winner

Thirteen Stars
Finest Ramshackle Jam
by Mike McMahan at 07 July 2020, 8:26 PM

The press release defines these guys as a “U.K. Southern Rock Group.” When I read this, I was very happy to have gotten the assignment for this review. I am from, and still reside in, the southeastern United States. One of the earliest and clearest memories I have of my youth is riding around the mountainous border between Tennessee and North Carolina on the 21st of October, 1977; listening to LYNYRD SKYNYRD’s full catalog on eight-track with my father and a family friend (who was more responsible for my musical taste and ability than anyone else has ever been). Needless to say, I have a pretty strong and historical tie to the sound. At the age of nine, I was still too young to really comprehend what had happened…but that trip started the fire.

What I came to find with THIRTEEN STARS and their new release, “Finest Ramshackle Jam”, was that they are a whole lot more than just a “Southern Rock Group.” The band draws influence from all around the spectrum, from the Southern sound to mid-seventies Funk Rock from the likes of DEEP PURPLE (Mark III/IV) and TRAPEZE. They are incredible musicians, one and all; and they truly defy being pigeon-holed into a specific style.

The album itself is a fifty-six minute, 15-song journey through what can only be described as “New Wave of Classic Rock” bliss. Opening with the metaphoric “I’m Ready”, with its Brian May-like harmonized guitar lines, we get a pretty good indicator that these guys are far more than a one trick pony. Lyrically, the song uses metaphor very cleverly, and is a tremendous bit of songwriting from Hoss Thompson.

“Running So Long” is a fantastic tribute to the late (and legendary) Tom Petty. The song actually sounds like it could have been recorded by TOM PETTY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS around the “Southern Accents” or “Full Moon Fever” eras. The guitar work sounds like Mike Campbell at his finest, and lyrically, again, the song just works.

There is a lot to admire within this band and this album, in particular. They blend styles fantastically and utilize fine musicianship across the board. The songwriting is stellar. Thompson has moments where the gruffness of his vocals can get to me, but when I listen to what that voice is saying, everything just seems to gel. And don’t you just love that album title?

I’m a fan.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. I’m Ready
2. Running So Long
3. Sweet Lies
4. Give It Good
5. Sleeping
6. Sorcery
7. Be There In The Morning
8. I’d Do Anything
9. Mint Jelly
10. Rebel
11. Steel Horse
12. Keep Calm And Carry On
13. Razor’s Edge
14. Break It Down Slowly
15. Only A Soldier
Hoss Thompson – Guitars/Vocals
Jax Sedgwick – Guitars/Backing Vocals
Andrew Bates – Drums
Mike Reid – Bass/Backing Vocals
Record Label: Rock People Records


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