I'm not sure when Gina Dalmas and the Cow Tipping Playboys became the Heart Stompers, exactly. It had to have been in the last year. What I do know is that as a group, there's enough differences between now and then in the texture of the music that it bears noting. The Heart Stompers seem comfortable as an ensemble. There's more of a shared vibe going on. Vocal leads often switch off where I don't remember that happening. It's all the differences you expect between a solo artist with a supporting band and an actual musical collective. Maybe it's in my head, but it's noticeable to the point that I don't feel right linking to the prior incarnation. But you can check them out at the new website: Theheartstompers.com
The music itself is still unapologetic in its undiluted Honky-Tonkiness. The band has a loose vibe that feels like it allows for spontaneity. I'm sure that most of the catalog is the same, but it feels like its been reworked for collaborative effect. To be clear, this is not my music. My appreciation of Country begins and ends with Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. But these songs feel like an all access pass into the world of this music. Sitting through their set I get a sense of why some folks swear by the genre. And I find myself humming along despite my biases. This is how you know that something you're not particularly qualified to evaluate is probably really, really good.
. . .
The Josephines call back to the only era of Country I give two figs for. The outlaw era. But there's a twist. They borrow from the darkness of a Tom Waits and then pivot into solid southern rock territory ala Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Without warning there's occasional flashes into something that almost feels like.. Metal? It's hard to explain. Think.. What if a revival tent was magically transformed into a band? And then it bought matching suits and went on tour? I'm explaining it badly, I think.
Anyways.. The songs here.. You get the sense that lead singer Brad Tabor has seen some serious shit in his life. I don't know his backstory, but he reminds me a little of Cash, truth be told. Not in delivery. Just in how he carries himself on the stage. If any of what I'm saying makes any sense, do yourself a favor and check them out.
And if it doesnt? Ah.. What do you want from me, man? This isn't my world. But they were good enough that I was pleased to visit for the little while they were in front of me.
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The Heart Stompers
Norfolk. Honky-Tonk / Alt Country.
Kentucky. Alt-Country / Southern Rock.