Around our house, a new Gourds album is anticipated like a sacred tablet coming down from the mountain or, at the very least, a new episode of David Carradine's Kung Fu. Allow Quentin Tarantino to make a movie of a recording session for the Gourds' latest recorded-in-analog album Heavy Ornamentals, and he would portray writers Kevin Russell and Jimmy Smith as white-bearded Shaolin masters, mysterious ancients with twinkling eyes, spattered robes and dog-eared tomes, Zen masters quoting enigmatic riddles while effortlessly kicking their enemies' asses all over the temple of doom. Continuing with the cinematic metaphor, our heroes in the Gourds are to roots music what Federico Fellini was to film: alchemists with mystical command of all allusions literary, capable of mixing strange, potent brews that include references to everything from Schoolhouse Rock to James Joyce, Marvel Comics to Sir Douglas Quintet. No beginning, no end -- find your own meaning if you need one to make your paradigm whole. It ain't a math problem; it's music, Grasshopper. Or as John Huston might have it: Badges? They don't need no stinkin' badges.
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