With their second studio album 'American Accent' Mississippi MacDonald and the Cottonmouth Kings have produced an elegant classic.
Apparently conceived as a musical voyage from Chicago to The South, this is a terrific showcase for Mississippi as he supplements his usual core band with piano, Hammond and occasional backing vocals. He tells an interesting and absorbing story as he moves from acoustic to electric and back and Rossco blues winds his cool Sonny Terry riffs around the tracks.
There is some real stand-out music on here. The title track 'American Accent' is a wonderful sly look at the cosmetic need to sing with an American accent if you want to get a radio play and the lyrics reference all those echoes from our youth, including Dylan. In true Bob fashion the track lasts nearly ten minutes taking us from quiet finger pick to the wonderful full house electric and wrap-around Hammond finish.
Mississippi is of course known for his straight forward belief in the need for authenticity in traditional blues and the whole album trip bears that out. The soulful 'If I could only hear my mother pray again' takes us directly back to church gospel with his vocal playing against some brilliant rollin' and strollin' piano from Adam King, while on the beautifully ironic 'You said you were leaving' we are back in the familiar blues land of dodgy morality lyrics and sad singing guitar.Every track takes you some place new and you want to stay and listen.
Here is an album that not only demonstrates great musical skill and talent but is full of single tracks that all have something to say – and that doesn't happen very often. This is one of the best albums of 2015 so far. Mississippi has been under the radar for far too long. American Accent should change that.