Review: The Piedmont Boys "Walking Pneumonia"

Hailing from the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains lends country authenticity to the Greenville, South Carolina-based Piedmont Boys. And these country boys are one unsigned band that should be grabbed up faster than shrimp and grits at a Charleston church picnic.
The Piedmont Boys begin the 8-song album with the retro-cool track "Ain't Got No Hot Water. Even without hot water, thankfully, the Piedmont Boys proclaim that they have cold beer. This is a memorable cut that would be welcome on both country and Americana radio, and the hummable melody and enthusiastic vocal performance could make it a radio chart hit.

The Wade Bowen-esque love song "Josephine" works on all levels and proves that The Piedmont Boys could also find a large female fan base. It is followed by the sparse Americana cut "Pickens County." The next track "The Buckeroos" is a honky-tonk/outlaw country music lover's dream and should prove to be a favorite for Piedmont Boys concertgoers. Indeed, the band has already built a loyal fan base. The superb instrumentation on "The Buckeroos" also deserves special mention.

The gospel-tinged "She Prays to God" has a Hayes Carll meets Waylon Jennings vibe that succeeds, but it is the Red Dirt cut "Sweetwater" that might have the best chance for radio chart success. This cut (complete with a Jason Boland shout-out) should immediately be released to Red Dirt/Texas country radio. The dark "Tangled" is a spartan triumph that blends elements of Johnny Cash and Chris Knight to create a potent musical moment. "If my heart don't fail me, I know my liver will," proclaims The Piedmont Boys on the album's last song. Again, the instrumentation deserves special mention, and the restrained vocal performance is pitch-perfect for the lyrics of the song "Heart Don't Fail Me."

"Walking Pneumonia" is an interesting title for an album with such diversity. However, the title probably should have been a geographic one - such as "Pickens County." You see, it is clearly evident that The Piedmont Boys have been heavily influenced by their native South Carolina, and the authenticity of the music is derived from the band's local and familial roots. Record company executives should run - not walk - to Greenville to sign a group which has as much potential in crossover music markets as the band Mumford and Sons. Folk-tinged Americana with a country beat is hot in the music market right now, but The Piedmont Boys have every chance of surviving the fad and creating a long and successful music career.

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