Bold Prediction: A track off of All Hell will be featured during the closing credits of an episode of True Blood at some point this summer (most probable selections are “The Day You Were Born” and “Dandelions”). Both True Blood and Gibson’s All Hell have a pulpy nature to them in relation to respective genre and medium: True Blood to television soap operas and All Hell to country music. In addition, there is a sense of ominous foreboding when listening to All Hell, particularly when Gibson’s tone is all but indistinguishable from vintage Johnny Cash or Elvis Presley or Roy Orbison. It may seem weird to compare an album to a television show, but upon first listen/watch, both got me so damn excited about what I was experiencing that I had to share it with someone; not to mention the southern goth ingrained in both.
So what’s so great about All Hell specifically? We can start with the fact that it snuck up on me, punched me in the mouth, and demanded my immediate attention. We all saw albums like Blunderbuss coming from a mile away, but it’s not quite as exciting when such an established artist as Jack White lives up to expectations. Just like it isn’t as exciting for Yankees fans when their team makes the playoffs. They expect it, but if the Kansas City Royals were to come out of nowhere and make the playoffs, their fans would be euphoric.
When an upstart like Daughn Gibson (by the way, I can’t find a proper pronunciation of his name, but am guessing it is a male iteration of “Dawn”) melds some classic country sounds with today’s production/electro-centric approach to making music, people should notice. I am hard-pressed to make an adequate comparison to the reverby country magic that is the vocals on “Tiffany Lou”, and I hope that when you press play on the video below you feel the same way. A voice, vocally and directionally, this pristine has not breached country music in a long, long time.
Popular country music as an industry has backed away from and resisted anything of substance for so long, that I highly doubt Gibson will be embraced by the industry. This leaves Gibson’s success up to the independent music community to embrace him, which is also a tough sell (but made much easier by Pitchfork’s endorsement) because there hasn’t been much “country-ish” to embrace for the most part recently.
I just hope that Gibson catches on and becomes some sort of souped-up country version of Jamie XX, starts working with southern rappers (Gucci Mane please), and is prolific with his contributions to music in the near future. Songs like “Lookin’ Back on ‘99” and “In the Beginning” point towards Gibson’s ability to cross over into the more electronic scene, which is great, but the country leanings are what will distinguish him as an artist in the current musical climate.
If I had to nitpick one complaint out of All Hell, it would be that it is too short, coming in at about thirty minutes. This is just another way for me to praise the album though. I wanted more, and not in the type of way that people say they wanted more effort or focus out of an album. I wanted All Hell to go on for ten more songs.
Can’t Miss: “Tiffany Lou”, “Rain On a Highway”, “Lookin’ Back On ‘99”
Can’t Hit: none