CD Review: "Wasted Words & Best Intentions"

CD: Wasted Words & Best Intentions
ARTIST: Bud Carroll & the Southern Souls

This is a CD that we were looking forward to hearing so much that we didn’t even wait on getting the actual cover for it.

Irregardless nonetheless, this 12-song sophomore release from the 27-year old Huntington phenom Carroll (and his Southern Souls) will serve as a permanent benchmark not only of his own enormous musical talents, but the Souls rockin output over the past few years.

Their mix of southern rock, blues, soul and country, and the band’s growth as a unit since their debut, is on display, with all their best intentions. Those who’ve ever liked the Black Crowes will instantly fall in love with what Carroll and the Souls are putting out. But Wasted Words has not only the southern rock feel, but a more uptempo Americana feel in parts, with tear-in-you-beer country tunes, too.

The CD opens with revamped, redone versions of songs you’ll recognize from the Souls’ eponymous debut EP, the uptempo version of “When It All Hits You,” and the funkier, subdued version of the anti-authority polemic “I Don’t Believe You,” still one of our favorites, despite the softer edge compared to the original.

Standout tracks on the CD are “Nowhere Town” and “That’s All She Wrote,” the former (a “sad, sweet refrain” dedicated to Huntington?), with its clear lead guitar, walking bass lines and overall pop feel evoking Weezer, and the latter, with its feelgood Americana vibe reminding us of something off Wilco’s Being There, maybe sung by Matthew Sweet. Great songs each.

Carroll opens on “Nowhere Town” -- describing a sentiment shared by so many West Virginia residents who may have moved on, or maybe the fate of his own band:

All that remains is a rusted pair of tracks
but no one complains, cause they ain’t lookin back.
We did everything we could now it’s well understood,
everything that went away this time is going to stay for good.
Carroll sings on the bouncy, rockin chorus:

I get the feelin -- should’ve left here yesterday
I get the feelin -- I’ll be leaving here to stay
Nowhere town, nowhere bound
Nowhere to go to but down
Sprinkled throughout the songs, in addition to Carroll’s soaring solos, are arpeggiated synth rolls and parts; good stuff, and a good example of what Jon Cavendish brought to the Souls live act before moving to Nashville.

The shuffling, only slightly depressing country feel of “King of all the Fools,” with its mandolin, fiddle and Carroll’s slide guitar, reminds us of Dwight Yoakam for one reason or another.

“Big Coal” -- written by bassist Jimmy Lykens -- is one of the more hard rockin tracks. “Soul Searching” is a frank, funky, effort by Carroll to get at what he’s looking for (with a rockin’ bridge and solo) and “You Don’t Have to Walk Alone” is the bluesy, barroom Black Crowes side of the Souls.

Recorded by Eddie Ashworth (Pennywise, Sublime) in Athens, Ohio, Wasted Words & Best Intentions serves to ensure that -- whatever form Carroll’s future bands may take, whatever name -- people won’t forget about his and the Souls talent, and their rock was not in vain.

One of the best CDs we’ve heard all year, from one of the best musicians around.

mp3: "Nowhere Town" by Bud Carroll & the Southern Souls

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