Music News

Thee Shams

While Cincinnati is better known for five-alarm chili and a bungling football franchise, it's also the unlikely home to Thee Shams, a garage-blues outfit less inspired by the banks of the Ohio River than by the muddy shores of the Mississippi Delta. As much in debt to maximum R&B's founding fathers as to yesteryear's psychedelic rock, Thee Shams sound like they washed ashore in a time capsule deprived of anything to listen to except crackling vinyl by the early Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Animals. Not quite a full-blown '60s tribute act, Thee Shams exhibit a nostalgic obsession that might border on the criminal if soulful frontman Zach Gabbard didn't do such a convincing job of channelling his influences into something worth hearing. Oxford-based Fat Possum Records, home to incendiary bluesmen like R.L. Burnside and T Model Ford, liked what it heard enough to issue Please Yourself , last year's retro-fueled celebration of hookahs, hooch and heartache.
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John La Briola