CD + DVD - $14.00 - temp. unavailable
On this, their 3rd studio record, Sixteen Horsepower's palette is exclusively composed of banjos and accordions, gothic portent and religious foreboding. They still sound like William Faulkner's prose rendered as music, as if they belong less in modern music venues and more on a Civil War battlefield, perhaps struggling to be heard through the lifting smoke and screams of the wounded at Antietam.
Singer and lyricist David Eugene Edwards continues to straddle the divide between country singer and medicine-show evangelist. In an age when country music has been hijacked by the gormless drones of corporate Nashville and the irony-straitjacketed art students who populate too many alt-country groups, he is a rare and precious reminder of a prior time when country was defined by the holy furies of the Louvin Brothers and Hank Williams.
Originally released in 2000, "Secret South" has now been lovingly reissued as a digipack & on 180 gram vinyl. Both vinyl & cd versions come with a dvd-audio dvd mastered by 16HP producer Bob Ferbrache specially for this reissue.
"... Fully embraces a darker sensibility, infusing their take on Country and folk idioms with a gothic sweep....this is an inventive alternative reading of American roots music." - The Wire
"... Conjures a rural, Appalachian, at times Civil War-era sound whose resolutely minor-key arrangements seem instantly ancient." - No Depression
"The label has changed (Sixteen Horsepower's first two albums, Sackcloth 'n' Ashes and Low Estate appeared on A&M), but, thankfully, little else has. Sixteen Horsepower's palette is still exclusively composed of banjos and accordions, gothic portent and religious foreboding... In an age when country music has been hijacked by the gormless drones of corporate Nashville and the irony-straitjacketed art students who populate too many alt-country groups, he is a rare and precious reminder of a prior time when country was defined by the holy furies of the Louvin Brothers and Hank Williams. "Burning Bush" and "Praying Arm Lane" might even be the two best things he's written, and the exuberant cover of Bob Dylan's "'Cept You" is surely definitive. Secret South is Sixteen Horsepower's finest hour." - Amazon
"Moby's "Natural Blues" awed me: I never thought someone could take one of those scratchy Library of Congress Folklife recordings and make it into anything remotely commercial or even listenable. If such wayward thoughts crossed your brain when hearing that track, Secret South will likely leave you breathless with admiration, even if you don't like the emotions it evokes. The sounds that pour forth from the teamwork of David Eugene Edwards, Jean-Yves Tola and co. echo another time so completely, much like "Natural Blues", that at times (particularly on their cover of the traditional "Wayfaring Stranger") you might think these sounds were recovered, rather than newly created. The instruments used are more antique: hurdy-gurdy, accordion and banjo combine with the everyday piano, guitar and stand-up bass. "Wayfaring Stranger" and "Poormouth" will haunt you in your dreams with their sounds of death, loneliness and high desert. "Silversaddle", full of the echoes of violin and piano, is just mournful as a churchyard. Someone once referred to 16 Horsepower's sound as "Appalachian goth" -- and that sums up their oeuvre, and Secret South, as neatly as any thesaurus could ever do." - Splendid