I guess it all started a few months ago. Random pictures on facebook and vague yet enticing words describing some secret recording happening at the Dastardly house. No real giveaways, just little snippets; “Reamping horns in pvc pipe #mysteryrecordingproject.” What could it all mean? Well, we all found out yesterday when Gabe Liebowitz decided to unleash this much talked about EP on the masses more than a month in advance of the release show planned for Schubas on August 30th.
I’d known for quite some time, since I saw them play a show at Beat Kitchen way back in November of last year, that Dastardly’s music was changing. Even with their EP Bury Me In The Country that dropped in January, I didn’t feel like they had captured the all around oddness of their new live show. They were still very much the folk/country band that built itself up on the shoulders of Jimmie Rodgers and Townes Van Zandt, but they were bringing in all kinds of new stuff. I think at the time I said that their new arrangements reminded me of Miles Davis. And now, just nine months later, they’ve delivered their own kind of Blue.
In all reality I’ve had a copy of this for a few weeks, but didn’t want to write anything about it until closer to the release. I didn’t want to give anything away, because I think a lot of people are going to be surprised by Ballads In Blue. It’s much deeper than either of Dastardly’s previous efforts, taking us into the abyss of Liebowitz’s mind where the old shack of country music legends is picked up and laid down in a Lynch-ian alternate universe where all music comes together. The world created on Ballads In Blue contains the most beautiful of dreams, and the darkest nightmares.