Shinyribs is the project of Gourds frontman Kevin “Shinyribs” Russell. The release of Gulf Coast Museum maybe wouldn’t have materialised if The Gourds hadn’t decided to take a hiatus of undetermined length late last year as their relentless touring couldn’t have left room for much else. But somehow Russell did find time to begin this side project as an outlet for his surplus song-writing way-back in 2006 when the idea of Shinyribs became reality. It took the form of a monthly show in Houston with a revolving cast of Austin based artists and musicians leading to a debut release in 2010 with Well After Awhile.
The line-up for this release has been honed down to fellow Gourd Keith Langford on drums, Cerebral Pony man, Jeff Brown, on bass, and Kentucky Fried keyboard whiz, Winfield Cheek. It also differs from the début in that it offers a broader palette of sound that unfolds like a road trip. He certainly crams a lot of influences into the nine tracks on offer which dip into swamp rock, country, funk and soulful roots. As you’d expect most songs are self-penned except the final track which is a bit of a surprise finale with a cover of If You Don’t Know Me By Now, a hit for Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes in 1972. Russell is joined by Brandy Zadan who guests on three tracks and together they nail it with a stripped down tender delivery of just a uke for musical accompaniment…a very smooth outro. Just as the Gourds cover of Snoop Dogg’s (now Snoop Lion) Gin & Juice became synonymous with them there’s a good chance this track could go the same way.
Whilst the breadth of musical offering sets this release apart from his debut, Russell’s veteran song-writing skills are the common denominator…those lyrics roll off and take on a life of their own. You grasp this from the very opening lines of the album on ‘Sweeter Than The Scars‘: “Dreams are about the future / Songs are about the past / Sometimes it takes a suture to make the feeling last”. The calibre remains high throughout Gulf Coast Museum which has all the hallmarks of becoming a classic. Kevin “Shinyribs” Russell has outdone himself here.
Released 10 Feb 2014 via Nine Mile Records
Pre-Order via Amazon