Mississippi Bigfoot – Population Unknown
Silver Tongue Records
9 tracks / 46:00
Mississippi Bigfoot formed in 2015, but they have not wasted any time getting moving and have already released their debut album, Population Unknown, and it is a kick! Their sound is a refreshing blend of swamp blues, rock, rockabilly, and funk that has to be heard to be believed.
The band includes Christine Vierra on lead vocals and ukulele, Johnny Holiday on lead guitar, Ashley Bishop on guitar, Cade Moore on bass, and Doug McMinn on drums and harmonica. This quintet formed the band after a show in Clarksdale, Mississippi, but most of these folks hail from the Memphis, Tennessee area. This disc is a sweet piece of work that was recorded at the famed Ardent Studios in Memphis; it includes eight originals that were written by the band and one really awesome cover.
They kick off this set with “Burn That Woman Down” a heavy does of swampy blues rock that highlights Vierra’s ultra-strong vocal abilities and plenty of smooth slide guitar work. The guys pitch in on backing vocals (“Whoa-o-o-o!”) as McMinn keeps the beat with a heavy snare. Things switch up right away with “Mighty River” which has cool uke chords from Christina and hard rocking layers of guitars from Bishop and Holiday, as well as a slick solo break. Then they throw out “Wag the Dog” a fast-driving rocker which features some righteous cigar box guitar from Bishop and harp from McMinn. This is how the whole album goes – every track is different than the rest!
A perfect example of this is “No Flesh in Outer Space” which is a funk tune that is held in place by the stellar backline of Cade and McMinn. Vierra digs deep on the vocals, and there are multiple levels of heavily processed guitars from the two guitarists. This track, with its complex sound and fun lyrics, ends up being one of my favorites in the set.
They also grabbed a really cool Albert King song for the lone cover, and “The Hunter” ends up being totally different than King’s or any of the other versions I have heard of this tune (by the way, Ike and Tina Turner’s blues version is terrific, too). Mississippi Bigfoot took this one into the Texas boogie realm, which has some rough and ready harmonica from McMinn and great solos trading back and forth between Holiday and Bishop.
”Tree Knockin’” finishes things off with a little roadhouse blues, and we get to hear a little bit about the band’s namesake. Listen closely, or you might miss something…
In a world of bands that play Muddy Waters covers and throw a Hammond on every other track, Mississippi Bigfoot stands out and Population Unknown is a fantastic way for new fans to get to know them. They are on to something here, and they have plenty of festivals and shows booked in the United States and Europe this spring. Head over to their website and see if they will be playing somewhere near you as I think their show will be quite the experience!