Death blues duo 20 WATT TOMBSTONE have released a video for their cover of “Midnight Train To Memphis” by Chris Stapleton. The track is from the band’s release The Year of the Jackalope which came out last Friday. The track was recorded by Jeff Hamilton (VIOLENT FEMMES).
The band comments: “We were unbelievably flattered that Jeff Hamilton wanted to work with us. I was a big fan of the VIOLENT FEMMES. I think he killed the track for this. Unfortunately due to Covid and no touring we lacked the funds to shoot a proper video. We decided to try and shoot the video for this ourselves in my basement. We had some help with edits, but we shot the whole thing ourselves with gopros and for a first time effort we are pretty pleased. We are really excited to share it with people, the response has been a lot better than we anticipated!”
If ever there were a way to see in the new year, it’s by the arrival of the Jackalope, heralded by 20 WATT TOMBSTONE. A self-styled ‘death-blues’ duo, they have kicked up a racket over the last few years as they’ve dragged their tour van through most of the US and several parts of Europe. While road dogging is the band’s main passion, it figures they put together some highway-worthy tunes. After proving their worth in their own material, it’s time to highlight just a couple of their wide-ranging influences on this two-punch record.
On the A-side of this record comes a feel-good rocker – the working man’s rock of ZZ TOP with their underrated “Just Got Paid.” The effortless slide guitar licks carry the perfect level of twang — while everything has undoubtedly been recorded live as 20 WATT TOMBSTONE’s previous releases, they’ve cleaned up their act and it all sounds much crisper. Mitch Ostrowski’s drumming is no slack either, as he bangs down hard on his kit in perfect synchronicity.
The flipside of the record, however, takes a darker turn; here has a thundering version of “Midnight Train to Memphis” by Chris Stapleton. The name may not mean much outside of Southern rock and Americana circles, but his influence as a songwriter reaches widely into pop, country, and rock n’ roll. As such it’s only fitting to pay tribute to a man who has done so much for music. And tribute is paid – there is a wonderful gritty tone from the voice of the tower that is Tom Jordan, as he stretches out the chorus lines detailing a prisoner’s life.
And that’s all, folks. A small teaser of 20 WATT TOMBSTONE’s heaviness, more focused on the blues side than the death side this time. If it is indeed the Year of the Jackalope and its scary face, then it is with a mixture of trepidation and excitement that we await for further material to emerge.