Brother Dege - How to Kill a Horse
Record Label: GolarWash Labs & Records
Release Date: Nov. 5, 2013
As his name indicates, Dege (pronounced Deejh) Legg is an interesting guy. Using the moniker Brother Dege for his creative output, he has spent more than a decade crafting haunting and hypnotic Southern gothic yarns. His latest album How to Kill a Horse continues that trend and does so in a manner that is worth paying attention to. It goes without saying that the disc is arguably his best to date. The album opens with the swampy and thick “Black Sea,” a stormy tour-de-force with pristine vocals and a distinct sense of place. Rather quickly it is obvious that Legg is a Southern musician singing Southern tunes and the duration of How to Kill a Horse elucidates that rather beautifully.
The rustic cut “The Darker Side of Me” is acoustic blues at its finest and an an absolute scorcher from start to finish. You can practically feel the Louisiana sweat drip from his dobro on the pained confessional “How to Kill a Horse.” That the title track is also the most fleshed out and developed song thus far on the album is probably no surprise. Despite its dark title and subject matter, “How to Kill a Horse” is a top notch song from an artist who deserves far wider acclaim. The first half of the album closes with “Judgement Day,” an effort that sounds a lot like “The Darker Side of Me” only darker and more ominous. Arguably the most intriguing song on the album is the saturnine instrumental “O’Dark 30,” a complete and fully developed cocktail of histrionics, suspense and expert musicianship.
Legg is an expert picker and nowhere is that more apparent than on “Poor Momma’s Child,” an engaging slice of Louisiana blues that is thick, steamy and laden with attitude and swagger. Much of How to Kill a Horse is built on currents of fear and torment and the finest example of that is the creepy cut “Wehyah.” Having gone more than a decade as a DIY artist crafting music on his own terms, it goes without saying that Legg is going to craft music that suits him. That explanation is probably why How to Kill a Horse contains the horribly profane “Crazy Mother$@%er.”
Aside from the salty lyrics, the song is actually his most accessible and the closest thing to a singalong on the disc. With a titanic closing two minutes and some awe-inspiring guitar work, ““Crazy Mother$@%er” is an absolute must-listen. How to Kill a Horse closes with “The River,” easily the most complete non-instrumental on the album and an absolute delight. Buttressed by Legg’s impassioned vocals and an engaging rhythm, it is a truly splendid effort and another reason why Legg is more than worth 40 minutes of your time. The disc ends fittingly with “Last Man of Bablyon” a slow-moving eight-minute epic that packs all the emotion, drama and tragedy of the previous nine songs and compiles it into one last salvo.
Brother Dege is probably a new name to most and that’s just the way he likes it. After all, this is an artist crafting music on his own terms and wholly for himself. All that should change though with How to Kill a Horse. Heck come to think of it, this just might be the best acoustic blues released this year. Don’t believe me? Go ask Quention Tarantino, who used Legg to provide songs for Django Unchained. Hard to argue with Quentin, eh?