If Johnny Cash were to join a band today, I believe that band would be Banditos. After all, the Alabama band seems to have tapped into the spirit of the man in black in their self-titled, debut album. The six piece group can play a fast paced and rowdy shuffle and then slow down to a heart breaking, country ballad without missing a beat. In fact, the magic of the band is their ability to cross genres without it ever feeling like they are stretching. The band members seem very comfortable with their abilities, as well they should, and have managed to create a distinct musical identity for themselves.
Much like a sports team who’s success depends on the depth of talent on their roster, Banditos excel because of the depth of talent within their ranks. The band has three talented vocalists in Corey Parson, Stephen Pierce and Mary Beth Richardson, each of whom could very easily be fronting a band on their own. The three vocalists are able to combine their individual talents to create something much larger and special. While the vocals are a big key to the sound of the band, the songs are able to go from good to great in large part due to the talented instrumentation of the songs. Parsons shares guitar duties with Jeffrey Salter and the rhythm section is made up of Randy Wade on drums and Danny Vines on bass. The link that unites all of the songs, despite the multiple genres, is Stephen Pierce’s banjo playing on the tracks. Whether it’s a fast rocker, or a slow country ballad, the sound is also unmistakably Banditos.
With proper appreciation given to the creators of the music, we now must shine a light on their creations…the songs. The album opens with the fuzzy electricity of “The Breeze.” While the song featured perhaps the most distortion on the record, the main riff is played by a clean banjo. The next track, “Waitin’,” switches gears to a country shuffle. All it takes is listening to these first two songs to get an idea of the dynamic cohesion that makes Banditos so brilliant. While each song on the record deserves its own mention, we will let you discover each gem for yourself. Our favorite tracks are “No Good,” “Still Sober (After All These Beers),” Old Ways” and “Cry Baby Cry.”
The job of a reviewer is to find a fancy way to tell you whether you should or should not buy a record. Sometimes we do a better job than others with the fancy part. Just to make sure nothing gets lost in translation, we will strip it down to the most simplistic way possible. This is a great record and you should definitely buy it! To make it even easier for you, here is the link to buy the record (may we suggest the vinyl?)