Review: Skinny Molly – Haywire Riot

Posted on: Thursday, Dec 6, 2012

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Skinny Molly – Haywire Riot

(Ruf Records: RUF 1184)


Here’s something a little different from Ruf Records usual blues/rock releases . . . a damn fine album of classic Southern rock, boogie and country . . . a melting pot of the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Blackfoot, The Georgia Satellites and Jason & The Scorchers . . . from the Alabama-based Skinny Molly, who have been around for a good few years.

The four members have impeccable credentials, and are Mike Estes (lead vocals, lead and slide guitar, mandolin, baritone) – writer of most of the songs here, Jay Johnson (lead guitar, backing vocals), Kurt Pietro (drums) and Luke Bradshaw (bass and background vocals), with additional help from Derek Parnell (guitar) and Josh Foster (Hammond B-3 organ).

Mike Estes had a stint in Lynyrd Skynyrd and Jay Johnson in Blackfoot, both giant bands of the genre and they display great chemistry here on “Haywire Riot”, backed by the stellar and tight rhythm section of Luke Bradshaw and Kurt Pietro. The album gets off to a crunching start with the riff-heavy “If You Don’t Care”, which is followed by Estes co-write with Johnny Van Zandt and Gary Rossington, “Devil In The Bottle” . . . firmly in classic Southern rock territory on this tale of the demon of the drink . . . the two guitars lay down the riff on top of Mike Estes gravelly, tough voice.

The rolling, country-edged “Two Good Wheels” takes the pace down a little, with Estes on mandolin; followed by the roaring rocker “Too Bad To Be True”, a foot-to-the-board rocker that fairly flies along at a rate of knots . . . . leading into the powerful “Judge Parker”, a powerful ‘cowboy’ ballad, with throaty vocal again from Mike Estes and a blend of both acoustic and electric guitar work.

The languid opening to “Lie To Me” is in acoustic mode on this tale of a cheating lover, before turning into somewhat of a power ballad with big hook and guitars. “Shut Up And Rock” has again that trademark feel of the South as the guitars crunch and Estes implores the subject here to do as in the title . . . “Hey rock star, just shut up and rock.” The excellent “After You” has a country swagger with some nice guitar picking and pushed along by the rock steady Pietro and Bradshaw.

The band are just finishing up a string of UK dates, and on the evidence of this I would suggest that those who attended had a great night . . . a recommended release for all fans of the classic Southern rock genre and more!

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