Pin It

CD Review: The Powder Kegs 

click to enlarge powderkegs_the_seedhouse_large.gif

Independent, 2007

Ever wonder why some folks willingly embrace the hard life, take to the road, and depend on the kindness of strangers? Hudson Valley-based acoustic fivesome the Powder Kegs could learn ya with “Hard Travelin’,” the first cut off their rip-snortin’ debut, The Seedhouse. The track is a Woody Guthrie chestnut that details rough times—backbreaking, menial labor; slogging through six feet of mud; aching for a woman—but this version careens from pillar to post like a celebratory spiritual. On several cuts from this live-in-a-room collection, the subject matter is dire; for example, the sole original, “Take Another Shot,” or the folk stalwart “Policeman.” Yet the Powder Kegs are ace players on fiddle, guitars, doghouse bass, banjo, and mandolin, and still manage to deliver all of their chosen tunes with a subtext of contagious joy.

First-prize winners on “A Prairie Home Companion’s” People in Their Twenties Talent Show and increasingly popular on the festival circuit, The Powder Kegs still busk on street corners and in public parks. The dust and dirt of the byways is audible on The Seedhouse. This is lovingly rendered music designed to be heard across Appalachian hills and in juke joints sans amps, with vibrato-free and ofte n ragged-but-right vocals recalling Leadbelly and Hank Williams (his “Lonesome Whistle” is covered here), and, when they join their voices, The Band.

The one song the Kegs choose to slow down is the Rolling Stones’ “Dead Flowers,” and dang it if these upstarts don’t make the tune all the better by dragging it through the streets.

Speaking of...

  • New DVD Chronicles Peter, Paul and Mary
  • New DVD Chronicles Peter, Paul and Mary

    The iconic folk trio is the subject of a recently released documentary.
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • Rich Conaty (1954-2016)
  • Rich Conaty (1954-2016)

    The Hudson resident and host of radio's "The Big Broadcast" died last Friday.
    • Jan 3, 2017
  • Turning the Turntables
  • Turning the Turntables

    This month, we once again ring in the new year with a specially selected panel of Hudson Valley music mavens, who run down their top releases of 2016 and talk current crushes and future faves along the way.
    • Jan 1, 2017
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • CD Review: "The Poughkeepsie Jazz Project"

    If you want to catch some of the best jazz in the Hudson Valley, head over to the Derby bar and restaurant on Main Street in Poughkeepsie. Since 2013, the duo of pianist John Scanlon and bassist Ben Basile has held court there every Tuesday, jamming with an array of local talent each week and establishing Po-Town as a rising force in local bop.
    • Aug 1, 2015
  • CD Review: Christine Spero's "Spero Plays Nyro"

    Why and how dare she devote an entire album to songs by Laura Nyro when we can just listen to the originals on Spotify? I'll tell you why. Because Christine Spero fully inhabits these songs, uncovers hidden nuances, and with her stunning ensemble—including drummer Peter O'Brien, bassist Scott Petito, saxophonist Elliot Spero, and Christine's own magic hands on the ivories.
    • Aug 1, 2015

Hudson Valley Events

submit event

Latest in Music

  • Art of Business: Bardavon
  • Art of Business: Bardavon

    See a show at the Bardavon this season. You won't be disappointed.
    • Jan 1, 2017
  • Turning the Turntables
  • Turning the Turntables

    This month, we once again ring in the new year with a specially selected panel of Hudson Valley music mavens, who run down their top releases of 2016 and talk current crushes and future faves along the way.
    • Jan 1, 2017
  • Nightlife Highlights: Kris Kristofferson
  • Nightlife Highlights: Kris Kristofferson

    Handpicked by music editor Peter Aaron for your listening pleasure.
    • Jan 1, 2017
  • More »

Related to Music

  • Opera in Phoenicia Park
  • Opera in Phoenicia Park

    With its open-air format, where attendees picnic in the parks and watch the stars emerge during performances, and its $5 youth tickets, the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice is the perfect place to share with children a love of music and theater, in a variety of styles.
    • Jul 25, 2016
  • More »

More by Robert Burke Warren

Hudson Valley Tweets