Reviews for Southern Gentlemen...
The demos that would become Southern Gentlemen -- the first full album from North Carolina's Gideon Smith & the Dixie Damned -- were purportedly laid down in the hallowed setting of Memphis' Sun Studios using vintage equipment breathed upon by the King himself. Whether this be truth or fable, one has to admire main man Smith for having both the foresight and the balls to conjure such a mystical/historical backdrop for an LP that defies easy categorization. In fact, it dares imagine what Elvis (or at least Glenn Danzig) would sound like singing stoner rock. This queer experiment is less surprising when buried under the chugging riffs of the likes of "Whiskey Devil," "Shovelin' Time," and opener "She Is Venus" (which adapts the melody line from Brazilian pop star Jorge Ben Jor's international novelty hit "Ponta De Lanca Africano," interestingly enough); but it comes to the fore when the Dixie Damned slow things down into psychedelic and space rock-tinged grinds like "Outerspace Girl," "The Witch's House," and "Ghost Rider." Southern rock and country also provide crucial touchstones throughout, but are particularly evident on the slide guitar of "Draggin' the River," the all acoustic "Wish You Were Mine," and the haunting "Hello Cigarette Girl," which evokes strong memories of Masters of Reality and cites monster trucks -- yeehaw! In short, Southern Gentlemen offers stoner rock with a twist, ideal for those willing to risk something new.
Ed RivadaviaDecember, 2004allmusic.com
MOTEL/ KING 16 MAGAZINE
Imagine the Allman Brothers on acid lost in the Grand Canyonŗ can you feel it? Slide steel guitars, rotten teeth, bar fights, blind barking dogs, sex in the barn, hot tiny bikini mamasitas toasting in the sun -- all embraced in a voodoo sleazy trance soundtrack.
Leonardo CalcagnoMarch, 2003
So if you judge an album by it's title, you might get to thinking that Gideon Smith and his band of confederates are one of those "southern rock" bands. True, there some of that in this album, but it goes deeper than that. Mr. Smith knows the value of a good riff. From the opening of "She is Venus" with that down-to-business riff and Smith's Elvis-meets-Charlie Daniels rumble, you know that Southern Gentleman is gonna be a winner. Any fans of AC/DC, the Cult...hell even the Outlaws or Allman Bros., you'll dig this.
Some tunes worth noting include maybe the first Skynryd-in-space number I can think of... "Outerspace Girl". That is a friggin' cool song just because I don't think Southern Rock has ever ventured into outer space before. "Shovelin' Time" is a barn-burner...between Smith's smoking vox and the killer riff, sceptics don't stand a chance.
Chris BarnesNovember, 2001
I have of course heard of Gideon Smith & The Dixie Damned before (only good stuff), but this is the first time I've actually have had a chance to listen to their music (that I can remember). They released an EP on the Game Two label a year or two ago that got rave reviews all over. "Southern Gentlemen" is their first full length release... and it's pretty damn good...
The first time I listened to this album I did so just after having listened to Backdraft's new "Here To Save You All" album and these two bands actually have a lot in common... I'd go as far as to say that both these bands have taken heavy southern rock to new levels. Gideon Smith & The Dixie Damned might have just a tad more metal in their sonic brew compared to Backdraft, but just like Backdraft they mix it up with just the right amount of psychedelia, countryrock and delta blues to make the tastiest southern heavy rawk 'n' roll since Raging Slab started out in the late '80's... There's not a dud among the 11 tunes on this album, but I still have a couple of favorites... "Whiskey Devil" with it's heavy boogie groove, the laidback psychedelia of "Outerspace Girl", "Ghost Rider" with it's perfect mix of laidback psychedelia and powerful riffing and "Knifedance" with it's 'stonerific' groove...
If you like heavy southern rock you should definitely add this great album to your collection!
Five guys whose bar tab would probably dwarf most people's weekly income, Gideon Smith and the Dixie Damned play a brand of southern rock that is becoming less and less common. As more and more bands, esp. within the stoner camp, adopt the iconography of the South (how many more times do we have to see a band of Californian ex-punk rockers with Confederate flags draped over their amps?) as a means of, I dunno, rebellion or irony or humor or something, rock music with real Southern flavor, that laconic, almost casual gait of a true Southerner, is going the way of the LP.
Well, for those of you miss it like I do, Southern Gentlemen is something you really need to hear. Gideon Smith and the Dixie Damned can crank up the Marshalls and rockthefuckout just as well as any band you might care to name, but even when they∆re at their most furious, the playing is loose and free in a way that places the unmistakable stamp of the South upon it. Or maybe I've just read too much Faulkner and I'm looking for something that isn't there.
So I guess all that Southern business is open for debate. But what isn't is the strength of the band's songs. All eleven songs, from gut-stompers like "Draggin' the River" to the psychedelicized ballad "Outerspace Girl" roll off the band members' collective fingers like honey, as if they were fully formed entities that the Mr. Smith & company casually snatched from the air. And Gideon's voice is the perfect topper, strong, clean and soulful in a way that brings Paul Rodgers to mind (and I don't toss that name around with impunity, understand?).
Though I'm sure the band worked very hard on Southern Gentlemen, the impression one gets from listening to it is of something casually tossed off; and it is perhaps this, more than any elements of the music itself, that really evokes the South. A tour of this CD evokes a casual stroll along a dirt road that ends at a backwoods juke joint full of drunken rowdies.
Brian VarneyNovember, 2001
At fucking last! Gid Smith and his unruly posse have stuck their ugly heads back out of the studio, this gritty disc clenched firmly between the teeth. It's been too long since the band had thrown some of their hard driving rock onto the shiny plastic. So I've been kinda short of alternatives for The Cult's "Electric", The Four Horsemen's "Nobody Said It Was Easy" and Five Horse Johnson's "No. 6 Dance".
But all is forgiven. Here's a bunch of great songs, a good dose of bludeoning riff-o-rama and a couple of shots of bourbon thrown in for good measure. My speakers have been dusted off thoroughly, right from the first spin. "She Is Venus" and "Draggin' The River" thump around savagely, looking for puny little eardrums to bully and an unsuspecting gut to rip. And they got me - ugh! Can you believe it's sheer fun to be struck over the head with electrified boogie of "Shovelin' Time"? Well it is. And I actually dig being yelled at by the infamous Mr. Smith himself. His voice sounds stronger than ever, without losing that soulful tone that makes a less muscular song like "Outerspace Girl" shine brightly.
The production on this one has taken a giant leap forward since their first EP on Game Two, but the true spirit remains. Just as I expected, the band still deliver the most straightforward brand of southern rock possible, done with such enthusiasm you simply gotta love 'em. Tough enough to take a giant block o' flaming dirtrock in the kisser? Piss off the neighbours, get "Southern Gentlemen".
Walter HoeijmakersNovember, 2001roadburn.com
'Gideon Smith' sounds like one of those bounty hunters out in the desert, drinking rattler blood out of a tin cup and waiting for the stagecoach to show up so they can shoot somebody, and 'Dixie Damned' sounds like an Outlaw biker gang cartoon that they show to Southern children to teach them how to clean their pop guns properly, in lieu of that honky-assed 'Schoolhouse Rock' shit- so there's a lot to live up to here. Luckily, GS&&TDD live up to their daunting and unwieldy moniker. Gid himself traveled to Memphis in search of holy ghosts for inspiration, bringing back a pocketful of scribbled-on cocktail napkins and haunted demo tapes, the basis for 'Southern Gentlemen'. As such, there's a lonesome, black cat skeleton to these songs, but Lord, did they slather some heavy meat onto their bones. Kind of a Satanic mechanic suture of 80's British biker metal riff merchants- think Tank and rogue Male- and a liberal dose of Skynrd and Blackfoot redneck groove. Proof of the North Carolina boys heritage lies in Shine Kelleher's mean assed slide guitar Ż it burns like piss in the eyes, and drives these songs into a big and scary wonderland of good 'ol boys with bad intentions. "Southern Gentleman" absolutely erases any of the damage done to Southern rock by 38 Special, and the Dixie Damned are leaders in a pack of wild new Confederate soldiers- Isabelle∆s Gift, Gonzalez, Slim, and Sinis, to name several, who are shocking the withered, denim clad corpse of Southern rock back to howling life. ZZ Over The Top, if you will.
Ken McIntyreJanuary, 2002Sleazegrinder.com
DAREDEVIL MAGAZINE (Germany)
Wow, Small Stone Records, this name stands for quality in music and this is quality for sure. You all know Five Horse Johnson? This here goes in the same direction, bluesinfected Heavy-Rock, slide-guitars, awesome voice and everything sounds great. I mean, this could be the soundtrack to Dusk Till Dawn, really, I would love to hear this music in a Road-Movie. 11 songs and all of them are ina really high level and catchy as hell. The recording is brilliant and groovy like a motherf**er. I think I?ve got a new favourite band, the name is Gideon Smith & The Dixie Damned. Don?t spend tooooo much money on weed, buy some GS&TDD....jackass