September 18, 2011 by Dan Swinhoe
The Dirt Daubers feature the husband and wife combo of Colonel JD Wilkes (frontman of the Legendary Shack Shakers) and his missus Jessica, affectionately known as ‘Maw and Paw’, with fellow shack shaker Mark Robinson providing assistance.
Calling themselves a mix of “Acoustic, Rockabilly, Country, Blues, Cowboy, Old-time music, Infernal jangling, yodeling and toot-a-looting,” ‘Wake Up, Sinners’ provides proper hoe-down music to boogie to. Anyone familiar with Colonel Wilkes previous works won’t be disappointed or very surprised, it’s all high tempo and good quality music from the deep south.
Wilkes’ voice s the same as ever; not entirely tuneful, but has the authentic southern tones and the enthusiasm to pull it all off. But don’t expect a carbon copy of his other band. The Dirt Daubers are far more traditional and ole timey, playing a mix of originals and standards all played with a base of banjo, mandolin, washtub bass with some accordion and harmonica.
Opening with a cover of ‘Wayfaring Stranger’ (but far more upbeat than the version Jack White recorded for the Cold Mountain OST) and it sets the tone for the rest of the album. Short, fast, and simple, never out staying its welcome.
The biggest surprise for Shack shaker fans will be JD’s wife, Jessica. Taking lead vocals on every other track, she gives a different dimension. Her singing style isn’t a million miles away from Paw’s, but her tracks have a sort of cabaret feel, that acts a good foil to the moonshine fuelled party.
Like most country music, while the songs sound upbeat a lot of the lyrics themselves are quite dark. With themes revolving around the devil, heaven and hell, and loneliness, dancing to ‘Trucks, Tractors and Trains’ has never been so fun.
There will be plenty who don’t like ‘Wake Up, Sinners’, but country has always been a niche music. Fans of JD’s other work will lap this up, and so should anyone who likes to have a good dance.