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The Gourds -- Bolsa De Agua (Sugar Hill).   This is one great Americana band that has always managed to keep me off balance, as I think is their intent -- not me personally, of course, but their audience in general.  Their songwriting is hook-laden and memorable, with wonderful melodies and often confounding lyrics ("They buried him in apple cores / put a clock up on his door / replaced all the numbers with dead wasps").  Great imagery, but half of these lyrics keep me scratching my head.  As usual, the boys keep it mostly acoustic, which should make Grant Alden happy (wink).  They've got banjo, accordion, mandolin, guitar, and an authentic southern accent.  Their styles range from straight acoustic country ("O Rings"), gospel ("Hallelujah Shine"), honky tonk ("Meat Off the Bone") (with lap steel and fiddle), western swing ("Turn My Head Around"), and something that borders on (gasp) college rock ("Big Santiago Bust").  The record is "Dedicated to the memory of Mr. Doug Sahm."  This record, like all of theirs, is diverse, challenging & toe-tappin -- never dull and masterfully executed.  Mr. Doug Sahm's memory is honored, no question.  -TRS

Track listing:

1. El Paso (3:08)
2. Jesus Christ with Signs Following (4:04)
3. Big Santiago Bust (1:40)
4. Receipts & Fevers (3:47)
5. Pickles (2:59)
6. O Rings (3:07)
7. Bugs (3:11)
8. Waterbag (4:06)
9. Hallelujah Shine (3:34)
10. Layin Around the House (2:35)
11. Meat Off the Bone (3:44)
12. Flamenco Cabaret (2:33)
13. Turn My Head Around (4:20)
14. Tearbox (2:18)
15. High Highs and Low Lows (7:03)

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