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Release date Nov 22/19 (Music Records)

Out of the unlikely vista of Lille, France comes heavy southern rockers (!) Black River Sons with their debut full-length Poison Stuff. Not sure how a bunch of Frenchmen could be bitten by the southern bug, but there's no doubting that les garcons have been severely inflicted not only with that bug, but also by many other hard rock snake bites.

This is one of those albums where I found myself determining influences track-by-track, so here's my take on many of the ditties herein:

Spill Your Guts: a swampy acoustic guitar intro gives way to an 80's hair metal concoction that strangely brings to mind (mine anyway!) tongue-in-cheek Van Halen

Born Again: mid-tempo AC/DC groove with slide guitar embellishments

Title track: updated southern rock akin to Hogjaw (the best new southern rock outfit of the 2000s IMO)

Loaded Gun: go AC/DC on us again, this time a little more up-tempo

Charcoal Blues: Lynyrd Skynyrd tricky-picking fare

Way of Life: uncannily akin to a southern-fried Max Webster

Wheels of Fortune: trudging blues that gives way to yer standard southern guitars-'til-dawn conclusion

Despite the various influences on display, the overall fabric is unquestionably southern rock though, lovingly embracing and applying its template throughout the 10 tracks over its 54 minutes. The best southern rock album of the year to date that these ears have come across (along with Shotgun Sawyer's Bury the Hatchet).


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