Album Review – The Statesboro Revue’s ‘Jukehouse Revival’

The Statesboro Revue call Texas home, but their country sound is vastly different than most of their Texas country peers. A blend of country and blues rooted in rock & roll, lead man and chief songwriter Stewart Mann has built a band with a unique sound sounds as modern and fresh as it does classic. Mann journeyed through Tennessee and California for seven years trying his hand at music, but it wasn’t until return to his roots in Austin, Texas where his music began to take hold and grow. Now, seven years after the band’s formation, they deliver their third studio album, Jukehouse Revival. It’s an upbeat countrified rock and roll album with an energy and movement indicative of a live show.

“Bedroom Floor” begins the album as a mid-tempo country song. Mann takes an honest look at himself. He still likes to party hard and drink a little too much, but as age catches up with him, he finds he can’t handle his liquor as well as he could before. Instead of making it through the night flying high, he winds up waking on the bedroom floor. This song sets the tone for the album and gives you a good idea of the kind of writer Stewart Mann is. This is followed by the infectious rockabilly jam “Every Town.” Here Mann sings of the women he spends the night with after shows. He enjoys the time he spends with these women, and revels in the fact that he has a reason to leave town right away as opposed to staying put and dealing with the rumors in town.

“Undone” is a blue collar anthem about a farmer who works to the bone everyday, living off the ground and barely making ends meet. But when the day is done, this farmer can’t wait to unwind with a couple drinks and spending some alone time with his woman. “Undone” is a great country-rock blend with a banjo leading the way on the verses. The song builds to an excellent, energetic solo of electric guitars and keyboards that ends too soon before the vocals kick back in on the final chorus. Mann sings of travel frustrations on “Tallahassee.” This upbeat country jam has a noticeable fiddle in the production balanced by a nice keyboard track. These two songs showcase the band as a whole well, along with Mann’s great vocals.

“Roll on Mama” is a bluesy rock song with great baseline. Mann sings of nights in the bar where he tries to pick up women. He wants to party, dance, and asks the ladies to “take a late night chance” on him. “Roll on Mama” is a song that shows more of the rock side of The Statesboro Revue, but it doesn’t feel out of place one bit on Jukehouse Revival. “Count on Me” is a true country love ballad with a steel and acoustic guitar find their places on top of the simple percussion track and an organ joining in later. Mann sings of his confidence in their love and how she is able to count on him when times get tough.

A familiar modern country topic of riverside love is explored with true country sounds on “Like the Sound.” It’s a countrified guitar lick with keyboards and a harmonica mixed into the production. The lyrics are a bit fluffy and shallow, but it’s delivered with more charisma than most mainstream songs of the same content. “Honkytonkin” is a moving country number about wanting to go down to the honky tonk with his woman. The harmonized “let’s go honkytonkin” is sung and repeated several times over the last minute of the song, which gets old quickly.

Mann sings of love again on “Satisfied.” It’s a mid-tempo country song with a beautiful steel guitar played in the mix. Stewart Mann declares his passion to keep the one he loves satisfied. He’s been in love for quite a long time, back to the days of throwing rocks at her bedroom window late at night. It’s a well meaning love song with a nice vocal delivery from Mann. Jukehouse Revival slows down for “Go Down Slow.” The long work weeks take their toll on this man, and he’s beginning to feel burnt out. He drowns his pain with booze and begs the alcohol to go down slow so he can still feel the pain. This first-person ballad is brilliantly sung by Mann as he places himself right in the shoes and draws out the exasperation of the situation perfectly. The country production aids “Go Down Slow” in being one of the album highlights. The album concludes with the Celtic-inspired “Last Ramble.” Stewart Mann sings the song as a dying man wishing his loved-ones to not weep of his passing. After living the life of a rambling man, his hope is that they will celebrate this last ramble as a journey to the ultimate destination: heaven. The song tells a great story and has a beautiful production.

The Statesboro Revue deliver great roots rock music with Jukehouse Revival. If I dare say-so, the music does a good job reviving that classic honky tonk dance sound that made country music an inviting genre. The mix of rock and country is existent in every song and works great together. The band seems to have found their niche, nicely building off the sound of their previous albums. A few weak lyrical moments, but the production of the tracks are the bright spot and what help The Statesboro Revue stand out as a band. Jukehouse Revival is an excellent, unique blend of rock and country.

Grade: 8/10