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 unearthed episode of Kung Fu. If Quentin Tarantino were to make a movie based on a recording session for the Gourds' latest analog-tracked album, Heavy Ornamentals, 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. In keeping with the cinematic metaphor, 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 the Sir Douglas Quintet.
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