In recent years, bands from the American South have made their presence known in the world of modern rock.
Cowboy Mouth’s hardcore New Orleans rock, Matchbox 20’s pop sound and the Refreshments’ south-of-the-border twang have carved a niche in the rock and alternative markets for Southern groups .
Hailing from Florida, Mighty Joe Plum might be the next Southern band to make it big.
The group’s album, The Happiest Dogs (Atlantic), successfully blends the sound traditionally associated with Southern rock, modernizing it to make the sound palatable to a diverse audience.
The centerpiece of the album is the single “Live Through This (Fifteen Stories),” which is receiving airtime on local radio stations. With a driving chorus, the song conveys a raw energy. Its lyrics are some of the most inspired on the album, putting a new spin on the fear of losing a relationship – an admirable feat in itself.
Unfortunately, only about half the songs on the album have similarly high-quality lyrics. A number of the songs are clich?d ballads about love and loss, as one might expect from a band that draws on a Southern background.
But lead vocalist and songwriter Brett Williams comes up with a few gems on The Happiest Dogs. “I Fell In” is the dramatic monologue of a public figure fallen from grace – an original perspective. Songs like “Sweet Orange Marmalade” and “Lumberjack” are poetic meditations about the objects mentioned in their titles, another unique direction for lyrics to head.
Mighty Joe Plum’s modern rock with a soft edge is very appealing to audiences in an era when many new groups fall on the extreme pop or alternative ends of musical spectrum. But without another hit like “Live Through This,” Mighty Joe Plum might be relegated to mere mediocrity in music history.