THE DEAL: No longer a Nut or a String Band rootboy, Jimbo Mathus cuts loose with twangy Memphis soul food.
THE GOOD: Jimbo Mathus has found his voice at last. Or to be more accurate, his voices. Instead of trying to adhere to a specific sound like he has in the past first with the Squirrel Nut Zippers and later with the South Memphis String band, on Confederate Buddha Mathus has finally turned himself loose and let his influences seep out through his pores. Backed by his band Tri State Coalition, Mathus sounds like Steve Earle fronting the Marshall Tucker Band on "Jimmy the Kid" and "Days of High Cotton." "Cling To the Roots" sounds like one of the Jagger/Richards takes on country, reminiscent of "Girl With The Faraway Eyes." There's still more Stones influence on "Shady Dealing," from the Jagger-esque vocals to the Richards guitar slashes. "Leash My Pony" is a funky country blues, like Willie Nelson teamed with Ry Cooder. The Marty Robbins-flavored "Aces and Eights," set in "an outlaw town on the border with no jury or judge," is the story of the shooting of Wild Bill Hickok.
THE BAD: Nothing to report. Every cut stands up time after time.
THE VERDICT: This is a great record. It's all over the place, but that's a good thing. For this case of multiple personalities, you hope there is no cure.