Connect with KindWeb on Facebook
Connect with KindWeb on Twitter
   Welcome KindFolks!
Back to List of Reviews
Jud Conway - Southern Bound
CD Review by Dave SanSoucie on 2/16/2009   

Based in South Central Pennsylvania, Jud Conway is a singer-songwriter/guitarist whose debut album SOUTHERN BOUND will thrill fans of the alt-country genre. With a nod toward classic country-rock influences, including Gram Parsons, Neil Young, and The Grateful Dead, SOUTHERN BOUND blazes a path through territory inhabited by contemporary artists such as Ryan Adams, Robert Earle Keene, and Slaid Cleaves.

Conway’s plaintive tenor has just enough of "that high lonesome sound" to satisfy the folky in all of us. The thirteen songs on SOUTHERN BOUND cover the subject matter, complexity, and range of the human condition in a contemporary fashion, yet with all the depth of age-old classic country-rock ‘n’ roll.

Produced by Conway’s brother Dan, who also lent his bass-playing and vocals to the project, the album finds Jud backed by veterans of stage and studio from all across America. Given that the tracks were recorded using studio cats and a couple different recording studios, the album has a nice cohesive feel to it, both production and performance-wise.

SOUTHERN BOUND begins with "South Savannah Rain" and a perfect opening line for any album; "I was pissin’ away my weekly check on Jameson Whiskey and triple sec." Essentially, a snapshot of a life-altering one-night-stand, "South Savannah Rain" tells the tale of a single young man’s transformation into a happy proud husband. John Molo’s [Bruce Hornsby & the Range, Phil Lesh & Friends, John Fogerty] driving drum performance and the interplay between bass, pedal steel, and bottleneck guitar conjures up some mutant child of The Cardinals and Dicky Betts-era Allman Brothers Band.

"Jaded" follows with a more straight ahead rock feel, and finds Jud singing the blues of a fictitious aging rocker who could have been a contender.

"Rag Doll" offers a bouncy jaunt through the trials and tribulations of estranged family relationships laden with tasteful guitar and pedal-steel breaks. Following this catchy track, the album detours into the folk realm with a gem entitled "Gambler’s Regret." In contrast to previous cuts, listeners are treated to a dynamic finger-style guitar number performed by Jud with accompaniment from Dan, who contributes beautiful melodic fretless-bass counterpoint and harmony vocals.

The album’s centerpiece and title track opens with an acoustic guitar-driven melody reminiscent of early MY MORNING JACKET or Rust Never Sleeps-era Neil Young. By the time the chorus rolls around, "Southern Bound" blossoms into a classic country-rock murder ballad with a train theme and an immediately hummable melody. You have to love a song that covers loss, murder, gambling, forgiveness, and travel in one succinct story lyric.

Other album highpoints include the melancholy"Ties That Bind," a song that so effectively embodies a spirit of loss and loneliness that the only missing ingredient might be the sound of November rain pelting down upon a drafty windowpane. "Mr. Corian" finds Jud Conway in folk balladeer mode, lauding the redemptive powers of music for both comforting the dying and healing the living.

"The King of Country Music" paints a vivid portrait of the archetypal "Rhinestone Cowboy" in the vein of Darrell Statler’s "Honky-tonk Stardust Cowboy," popularized by Jonathan Edwards on his 1973 release of the same name. The song’s lyrical landscape is perfectly complimented by Dave Hadley’s nuanced pedal-steel, which harkens back to a much earlier time in twentieth century country music.

The upbeat closer "Bid Adieu Blues" wakes up any listeners lulled to sleep by the Rhodes-piano wisps and ethereal vocals of the melodic "Sleep Tight," and proves that Jud Conway can rock ‘n’ roll with the best of them when he desires.

Throughout the thirteen songs on SOUTHERN BOUND, Jud Conway conveys a heartfelt appreciation of the highs and lows of life in these United States. While this reviewer feels that the term "Americana" is often overused, in a large sense, Jud’s performance, lyrical content, and vocal style is just that; everything good about American country, country-rock, folk, and rock ‘n’ roll music. Much ground is covered, but then it is a big country that is America.

Featured eCards
Have Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead send an eCard for you Have Mike Gordon and Chewbacca send an eCard for You
Featured News
Travelin' McCourys announce fall tour, New Years plans, and first ever recorded music  9/16/2016
Jeff Mattson and Rob Eaton of Dark Star Orchestra to Sit In with New Riders of the Purple Sage at the Grateful Get Down  7/27/2016
Deep Roots Mountain Revival Announces Initial Artist Lineup  4/29/2016
Dumpstaphunk Kicks Off Spring Tour with Dates Across the South  4/7/2016
Yonder Mountain Sets Their Sights On the South with Dates in Texas and Louisiana This Weekend  3/29/2016
The String Cheese Incident Announce Summer Tour / New Music  3/8/2016
Phish Announce 2016 Summer Tour  2/5/2016
The Werks Host STS9, Lettuce and more at The Werk Out Music & Arts Festival  2/4/2016
Dark Star Orchestra Host Yonder Mountain String Band, Hot Tuna Electric, Leftover Salmon and more at the Dark Star Jubilee, May 27-29 at Legend Valley  1/14/2016
String Cheese Incident Announces March Madness Tour  1/7/2016
FARE THEE WELL: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Grateful Dead by Jay Blakesberg Released December 1, 2015  11/17/2015
The String Cheese Incident Release Three-Disk Set, Rhythm of the Road: Volume 2, Live in Las Vegas  10/9/2015
Art Outside Publishes 2015 Stage Schedule  9/25/2015
Keller Williams Trio Announces New Years Eve in Telluride, CO  9/2/2015
Don't Miss The Aquarium Rescue Unit's 26th Anniversary Tour  8/12/2015
Bears Picnic Finalizes Schedule and Gets Ready for Perfect Weather with Special Guest Stopping by Through the Weekend  8/5/2015
Get Ready for Art Outside 2015, a Fall Festival Not To Miss  7/8/2015
Postcard Giveaway at Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Concerts Aims to Spur 10,000 Socially-Conscious Actions  6/29/2015
Suwannee Hulaweeen wave 1 line-up announcement  6/29/2015
All Good Music Festival and Flying Dog Collaborate to Make 'All Good Ale' A Reality  5/20/2015
...view more news...
KindWeb Merchandise
 Advertising Information  •  Contact Us  •  How To Get Reviewed  •  Link To Us  •  Mailing List  •  Privacy Policy  •  Meet the KindWeb Family
1998 - 2019   All Rights Reserved.