Updated: Jan 7, 2021
Not often do strong albums open with potential singles unsuitable for airplay, but don’t worry, the FCC-compliant version closes the record and by time you get there you’re ready to hear it again. We’re talking about WHOA!, the debut studio album of Chattanooga-good time party band Strung Like A Horse. Produced at Nashville’s Sound Emporium by Grammy®-decorated producer Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, John Prine, Brandi Carlile), WHOA! showcases the group’s rollicking Bluegrass facets and deep-roots Americana style that local crowds have been enjoying for nearly a decade.
Leader and Mississippi-native Clayton Maselle, along with partners in crime Eric “Crispy” Crisp (Drums, Perscussion), Tyler Martelli (Guitar, Keys, Mandolin), and Dan Pinson (Bass, Lap Steel), have a reputation for good times and hot pickin’, strongly evident on their first release, 2011’s Live at Lindsay Street. Undeniable Bluegrass lives here as well as evidenced by “Lookin’ For Love”, but so do soulful tracks thick with unconditional love for imperfect persons and places. Single “F**k What They Think” (and it’s radio-friendly companion “Forget What They Think”) is a lesson in self-love, while “Gold In Their Souls” is an open-eyed look at Maselle’s Mississippi hometown for better or for worse. Tales of relationship uncertainty are spun in “Crazy Like Me” – the duet with Nicki Bluhm – plus “Cold & Lonesome,” and the mournful “Without You,” but you won’t feel too inclined to cry into your beer.
Strung Like A Horse is nothing if not entertaining, and WHOA! is both a full-throttle gallop through a good time and a heartfelt overture as to why we should be good to ourselves and one another. While spinning heavily with a lot of hometown love at WUTC, “SLAH,” as they’re also known, are finding themselves in the corral at KUWR, WNCW, and WAPS with more to come.