Music » Rhythm & Views

J.D. Wilkes & the Dirt Daubers: Wild Moon

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What began as an old-timey unplugged side project for psychobilly trailblazer J.D. Wilkes and his pinup-gorgeous wife, Jessica, has evolved on their third album into a swaggeringly electric band that specializes in swamp blues and twangy garage-abilly. Fans of Wilkes' Legendary Shack Shakers will appreciate the after-midnight roadhouse energy of the Dirt Daubers, but this group also crafts concise songs with oodles of melodic hooks that all might have been hit singles in an alternate jukebox universe.

The record (produced by punk legend Cheetah Chrome) kicks off with a brief harmonica showcase, "French Harp Hustle," followed by Jessica's sassy exploration of classic English nursery rhymes "Apples and Oranges" - she sings as if she is perpetually stamping out a cigarette butt with the toe of her stiletto. Her rhythmic delivery probably owes a bit to the fact that she also doubles on bass.

A little later on the album, she turns pensive on the low-key, piano-led "No More My Love," which finds her channeling a little of Nina Simone's smoky moan in a dark saloon. She sounds so sexy, it's almost heartbreaking to hear her detail the end of a romance in "Don't Thrill Me No More."

J.D.'s no slouch either, playing mouth harp and banjo, and lending his inimitable Southern-Gothic howl to such barn burners as "Angel Crown" and the title track, which sounds perfect for the soundtrack of True Blood.

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