Outlaws ’til the end, the new album from Devildriver isn’t a typical Devildriver release. For a start, it’s an album of cover versions. Not just any cover versions though…these are all Country songs. Yes that’s right, Devildriver playing Country music.
By now some of you are probably thinking WTF? and that was certainly my reaction when I heard about the album, but rest assured, they haven’t had a radical change of direction – instead they’ve taken these country songs including well known songs, and given them a Devildriver workover, so forget banjos or acoustic guitars, this shit is heavy!
The songs covered are from artists including Steve Earle, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams III, Willie Nelson and the Eagles, so they’re not obscure songs. That’s pretty much guaranteed that lots of Country fans will be horrified by this album as Devildriver transform classic songs almost beyond recognition, but never mind – they were never likely to buy a Devildriver album anyway. A large proportion of Devildriver fans are likely to not know many of the songs – the one they’re most likely to know is “Ghost riders in the sky” due to its inclusion in the Blues Brothers movie.
As if performing Country songs wasn’t enough of a departure from their usual work, Devildriver have brought in a load of special guests, with 8 out of the 12 tracks having a guest on. Guests include Randy Blythe and mark Morton (Lamb of god), Burton C Bell (Fear Factory), Wednesday 13, Brock Lindow (36 crazyfists) and John Carter Cash (son of Johnny Cash).
Having listened to the album a few times I’m still in two minds about it. I love it when bands take chances and try something as off the wall as this as sometimes the results are simply superb, and with the special guests plus Devildriver themselves there’s plenty of talent involved here. On the other hand, I’m not convinced this has worked as well as I’d have hoped. Some of the tracks do sound great but bear little resemblance to the lyrics, while one or two just don’t quite work. Overall though it’s an album that will surprise Devildriver fans – it’s different but at the same time it’s not so different that it’s no longer Devildriver.
One of my favourites is the Steve Earle song “Copperhead road”..
It’s an interesting album – something different to the usual Devildriver albums, but not so different that it alienates their fans. For me, it’s lost too much of the original songs to be an album I’d rave about, but it’s still a very good album and one that’s worth checking out.
1) Country Heroes (written by Hank Williams III). Performed by DevilDriver. Guest: Hank III
2) Whiskey River (written by Willie Nelson). Performed by DevilDriver. Guests: Randy Blythe, Mark Morton of Lamb Of God.
3) Outlaw Man (written by The Eagles). Performed by DevilDriver.
4) Ghost Riders in the Sky (written by Stan Jones). Performed by DevilDriver. Guests: John Carter Cash, Ana Cristina Cash, Randy Blythe and Mark Morton of Lamb of God.
5) I’m the Only Hell My Mama Ever Raised (written by Johnny Paycheck). Performed by DevilDriver.
6) If Drinking Don’t Kill Me (written by George Jones). Performed by DevilDriver. Guest: Wednesday 13
7) The Man Comes Around (written by Johnny Cash). Performed by DevilDriver. Guest Lee Ving of FEAR
8) A Thousand Miles From Nowhere (written by Dwight Yoakam). Performed by DevilDriver.
9) Copperhead Road (written by Steve Earle). Performed by DevilDriver. Guest: Brock Lindow of 36 CrazyFists
10) Dad’s Gonna Kill Me (written by Richard Thompson). Performed by DevilDriver. Guest: Burton C . Bell of Fear Factory
11) A Country Boy Can Survive (written by Hank Williams Jr). Performed by DevilDriver.
12) The Ride (written by David Alan Coe). Performed by DevilDriver. Guest Lee Ving of FEAR