Sometimes chemistry is just right to combust. No, I’m not talking about failed high school experiments – I’m talking about a tight quintet that went from performing their first show together in 2014 to producing a tight hard-driving album in 2015. Mississippi Bigfoot seemed to come out of nowhere to produce a notable CD POPULATION UNKNOWN on Silver Tongue Records.
Christina Vierra’s vocals are outstanding – at once she has mastered the deep throated growl and the sweet caress. She has a great approach that commands attention and holds a room in the palm of her hand. Lead guitarist Johnny Holiday is assured and controlled while the remainder of the band, Ashley Bishop on rhythm and cigar box guitars; Doug McMinn doing double duty on drums and harp; and Cade Moore on bass are solid performers.
Bishop and McMinn also serve as the Executive Producers. Members of the band have written eight of the nine songs on the album, the one exception being their version of The Hunter, that was written by the tandem of Booker T. Jones, Dunn, Wells, Jackson, and Cropper. With that great STAX pedigree, you know it’s got to be good.
There are a lot of influences on this record – a real rock sensibility on top of some serious blues that is guaranteed to keep you coming back for more.
The album starts off with a Vierra/Bigfoot written number, Burn That Woman Down, and immediately you feel that swampy delta vibe that slips into a country blues feel. It’s also our first inkling of the power behind Vierra’s vocals – it immediately hooked me.
Vierra adds her ukulele to the next tune, Mighty River, a tribute to the Mississippi river – the powerful place that gave birth to the blues and still holds us in its power.
Wag The Dog starts off with a strong rockabilly flavor before settling down more in the blues. It has an intense, infectious energy that pulls you into the song. I can only imagine this song lighting up a dance floor.
I never thought I would find a blues song called, No Flesh In Outerspace, but leave it to these unique entertainers to come up with this funk infused song. It’s an interesting experiment and might be a little too out there for some, but hell, pushing envelopes is what artists do!
We keep going with some funk with Who’s Gonna Run This Town, a driving number that would feel right at home in an ‘80’s action movie. That’s not a slam, it tells a story and hooks you in with its pulsing bass and drums combo. I like this one a lot, even if it falls more into rock than blues territory.
Both Vierra and Holiday split the vocals on Clarksdale, a song written mostly by Holiday. McMinn’s harp adds that Delta sound that sets this song smack in the middle of where things started. It’s a great song and one that should receive quite a bit of airplay.
You Did is a gospel flavored ballad and Vierra is in great voice. If you haven’t figured it out before now, this woman can really sing! She electrifies and finds every emotion in this heart breaking number. It’s the longest song on the album and I still want to hear more. This is a terrific number.
The STAX fueled The Hunter picks the pace back up with McMinn adding some nice harp licks to the proceedings. Listening to this you can easily imagine that Mississippi Bigfoot could hold up very well against the very best of that era. They leave their own mark on the classic number without robbing it of its original soul. Not an easy task.
Tree Knockin takes us out of the album with a nice swampy feel. You can feel the long shadows of the delta encroaching and that’s when things are going to get loud and funky. It’s a nice touch to take us out.
Oh yeah, this band can tear it up! My one objection to this album is its length. Nine songs – even great ones like these are not enough to capture their energy. They mix and match genres and somehow make them all work. I can’t wait to hear more of their work and hopefully we won’t have to wait too long.
I’m not sure if the creature Mississippi Bigfoot exists, and I doubt that I’ll ever know – unless it turns up on a reality show somewhere, but I can tell you the band that adopted its name is not only real, it’s the real deal.
You can find out more about the band at their website http://www.mississippibigfoot.com/ and be sure to check out where they are going to be playing live around you. And if are lucky enough to cross their paths, tell ‘em the Professor sent you!
(Photo of the CD cover to POPULATION UNKNOWN taken from the band’s website. If you are the copyright holder and want it removed, let us know and we’ll do it. We’ll tell Bigfoot on you, but we’ll do it…)