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Sal Nunziato

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Get Ready For The Gourds and Their Feel-Good Record of the Summer

Posted: 09/01/11 07:30 PM ET

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The Gourds have been making some of the most joyful sounds in music since they first began almost 20 years ago. Sure, they've stayed just a bit below the radar, but isn't that what we like best? Don't we tend to shy away from the superstars, so we can put a few notches on our "cool belt" with our own special discoveries?

On September 13th, The Gourds will release their 11th studio recording, Old Mad Joy, and if you aren't already hip to this band's unique brand of roots music, this is your chance to discover and pounce on what should end up on every critic's year-end "best of" list.

I've had Old Mad Joy on repeat for a week now, and I have to blame the band for my uncharacteristically good mood. Produced by Larry Campbell, the right hand man of both Bob Dylan and Levon Helm, and recorded at Levon's legendary barn in Woodstock, Old Mad Joy will no doubt evoke Helm's old pals, The Band, especially on the stunning "Two Sparrows," a song that would have made Rick Danko proud.

The Gourds can also rock with the best of'em, like on the very Stones-y "Drop What I'm Doing" or the honkified "Your Benefit." There's no shortage of styles on Old Mad Joy, yet at no time does it sound derivative. The Gourds are that good at what they do and Old Mad Joy is one special release. Until it streets on 9/13, give a listen to the opening track.

I WANT IT SO BAD