Jesse and Noah - Driven Back
Record Label: Self-released
Release Date: Nov. 20, 2012
It can't be easy being the son of legends, be it living or dead. Just ask Jakob Dylan or Lisa Marie Presley. Though not nearly as titanic as Elvis or Dylan, the Bellamy Brothers are household names in the world of country music. Jesse and Noah, are the son of David Bellamy, who formed the now iconic group with his brother Howard. The younger Bellamy brothers started off their careers in Central Florida as members of the band Elston Gunn. After criss-crossing the country and Europe, the brothers finally settled in Nashville. Driven Back, their third LP is the result of their recent move to Music City.
On the whole disc is warm, engaging and shows hints of promise. Whether its the crunchy heartland rock of album opener "Weather Man," or the forlorn tenderness of "True Love Doesn't Beg," there's something promising and engaging about the material on Driven Back. "Lilly Vereen," is an affecting ballad that is poignant and timeless and draws on the contributions of a nyckelharp."Driven Back" is a gritty blues scorcher with ample amounts of guitar mettle and enough sass to knock Robert Cray on his ass. Vocalist Jesse Bellamy sounds his best on the slow-moving country ballad "You Could Have Had It All," and the languid "Bend in the Road," which is lingering and impassioned and arguably the disc's best song. Continuing with the country motif on "You Could Have Had It All" "The Homer Bellamy Centennial Blue Yodel," is a dusty, back-roads cut that is genial and warm. Equal parts biographical and whiskey-soaked, "Homer Bellamy" is also definitely Californian. The steamy sultriness of "Driven Back" is revisited in the blues-inflected "Florida Water" a personal paean to their home state of Florida.
Driven Back ends with the saturnine "Guilty of Myself" a pained portrait of self-defeat and arguably one of the disc's finest songs. The only negative to "Guilty of Myself" is that with a running time of less than three minutes, it is far too ephemeral and one wishes it would be a bit longer. On the whole, Driven Back is a fine effort from a band that now three albums into their career is finally putting the pieces together. Though its not the breakthrough juggernaut they need to catapult their careers, there are armfuls of promise here. But then again, that's not really a surprise. These boys have music in their DNA.