By Sean O’Grady


Promised Land Or Bust is pure southern grit, it’s sweaty, down and dirty juke joint blues played with fierce passion and intensity. The opening track Take Me With You (When You Go) opens with some low down funky guitar licks from guitarist Aaron Moreland, in response Dustin Arbuckle fires off some blistering harp notes. Aided and abetted by drummer Kendall Newby the band dive into the swamp with Mean And Evil; I’m A King Bee stays true to the Louisiana spirit of Slim Harpo.



I spoke to an excited Dustin Arbuckle on the eve of the bands first visit to Australia, before delving into the their latest studio album we discussed the bands recent signing to legendary blues label Alligator Records.



“It’s great to be a part of Alligator records, Bruce Iglauer and everyone at the label do an awesome job and they really support their artists and work hard for us. That is something that you love to have, a label that legitimately cares about you.  Alligator was founded to record Hound Dog Taylor who is one of our all time favourite artists and a huge influence on us, so it’s great to be on the same label. We had met Bruce in the past but the opportunity to work together hadn’t materialised. Our deal with our old label had finished we had Promised Land or Bust completed and we were just reaching out to labels that we were interested in working with. Alligator was high on the list, we wanted to work with them and they wanted to work with us!”



Live performance is very much at the heart of what Moreland and Arbuckle are all about, it’s that spontaneous energy that was at the heart of the sessions for the new album as Dustin explained.



“We always hope that our live energy comes through in our records, we always try to record everything at the same time we want to maintain that energy. As far as the sound is concerned, traditional blues is at the core of what we do. We have incorporated other influences, we want to try and step outside the box and do things we haven’t done before and write better songs. We wanted to make an effort and reconnect with the traditional blues music that we hadn’t done on our previous albums, which is why we recorded songs like I’m A King Bee and Woman Down In Arkansas which has more of that old school blues sound.”



To shape some of the songs on the album the band opted for the tried and true method of hitting the road to get a feel for what worked and what didn’t. Dustin explained the process of laying down the tracks with the help of producer Matt Bayles.



“We usually have road tested the songs quite a bit before we record them, there are some songs that we haven’t played much live like Waco Avenue, that was written shortly before we went into the studio. Then there other songs like Mean and Evil and Mount Comfort that we had been playing live for quite a while and we knew what we wanted to do with them, the songs are fairly well set before we go in. There is some brief pre-production when our producer Matt Bayles will come into town and we will spend a few days going through the song and work out if we need to tweak this ending or mess with that arrangement but the songs are fairly well set when we go into the studio.”



Moreland and Arbuckle are touring this month, they will be playing the Holler Roots Music Festival at the Caravan Music club on February 18th. For more details of where you can catch the guys check out the link below.

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