As one of the few Observers currently residing in the Deep South, I get the pleasure of being exposed to my fair share of really interesting southern bands. Now, southern music can represent a lot of different things since, contrary to popular belief, there exists a multitude of personalities and tastes in the region. The South and its music culture isn’t as monolithic as the rest of the country likes to think. When considering regionally southern music, I’m sure many assume it’s just a synonym of country music. I’m here to insist that is far from the truth. While many country musicians do of course come from the South, there are also a ton of rock bands coming from the area.
One of the clearest characteristics of these rock groups is their focus on storytelling through musical ballads enhanced by twangy guitar solos and relatively longer jam sections. Southern rock allows for the entire group to show off their individual talents. Some of the most recognizable names in the southern subgenre of rock music would be Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Marshall Tucker Band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and 38 Special. While these are the classic and time-tested examples, one group has consistently made their way onto more and more of my playlists, The Weeks.
Originally hailing from Florence, Mississippi, The Weeks dropped their first album, “Comeback Cadillac”, in 2008 and have been putting out a unique indie rock sound with a southern twist on every release since. While their entire discography contains hours and hours of fantastic instrumentation and intriguing storytelling through their ballads, the song that inspired me to write this review is Brother in the Night.
“Brother in the Night” starts off with the faint fade-in of a slide guitar followed by a catchy drum beat and a melancholy guitar riff to set the tone of the song. The story is set from the perspective of a daydreamer enjoying his day and creating scenarios of being an outlaw on the run from the authorities.
Well I trace shapes in clouds and I saw things I never seen,
We move like renegades down in the states, reload that magazine
Almost killed us in that city it was far too close to call
So we put money in the bags, ripped wanted posters off the wall,
Say I’m wanted for a murder of a man I never seen
They say I shot him dead, one to his head, somewhere in Holly Springs
As a kid who grew up seeing his fair share of westerns and heist movies, I’d be flat out lying if I said I’ve never daydreamed about. living off the land, surviving my macho skills, riding off into the sunset, and living on the outside of the law. The song is relatable in that sense and then leads into a chorus of power chord walkup, ultimately describing not only the frame of mind of this would-be desperado but images of his home state. This nostalgic sense of place creates a visceral vision of an idealized version of home.
“Oh if my southern heart’s still pumping blood…
Well I’ll bury my money in the mighty Mississippi mud
Oh and if my southern lungs won’t let me breathe…
Well I’ll wait for the cicadas and I’ll let them push it out for me”
Through “Brother in the Night”, “The Weeks” bring forth the nostalgia of storytelling. Their intuitive instrumentation including a trumpet section in the shout chorus is a staple of the band’s discography as a whole. If you’re looking for a new band to charm you with a bit of that southern storytelling, check out “The Weeks”.
Other great tracks: