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Texassippi Stomp
(219 Records, 2007)

Not for the faint of heart is Cashman, purveyor of full-frontal downhome blues, as subtle as a tornado funnel or an artillery blast. On Texassippi Stomp, the music arrives courtesy of two guys, Ray Cashman (electric and acoustic guitars, dobro, percussion) and Grant A. Brown (harmonica), with the periodic assistance of the ubiquitous but unfailingly worthy Jimbo Mathus (bass, guitar, snare drum), who also produces.
Though based in Austin, Cashman is not to be confused with those Austin singer-songwriters whose definition of roots is other singer-songwriters. This is rude, raucous Mississippi juke-joint music, much less delta than hill country -- the sort of raw approach whose then-surviving (and some since-deceased) native practitioners (including T Model Ford, R.L. Burnside, Paul "Wine" Jones and Robert Belfour) the Oxford, Mississippi, label Fat Possum famously recorded and promoted. Among our many debts to Fat Possum (in whose Money Spot studio Cashman cut this album), we may thank it -- snark alert -- for encouraging talented young white guitarists to stop trying to sound like Eric Clapton trying to sound like Albert King. Or, to the more knowledgeable, giving them some idea of a living, as opposed to an archival, country blues.
Cashman's uncompromising approach renders trivial, even absurd, conventional notions of "authenticity." Who Cashman and Brown are in prosaic fact -- you could call them, technically, folk musicians in the revival sense -- is detail, and, worse, misleading detail, because in the post-traditional early 21st century anybody who decides to carry a tradition has become a tradition carrier. If the music is so felt and true that it rises above rote impersonation, that's as close to a working definition of "authentic" as you're going to get. Cashman is as authentic as all hell.
The tight-lipped sleeve notes cannot be troubled to provide such basic information as who wrote the 11 songs. While I suspect Ray Cashman is the author, they feel about as composed as field hollers. The voice -- more deep-throated rasp than singing instrument -- seems to be snatching words out of the air, some found floating by, others invented and disposed of on the spot. "Music" in the conventional sense is second, in effect a framework in which to set complaints, irritations, threats and laments. The electrified cuts, which is to say most of the cuts, rush at the listener in a mile-high tsunami of sound, sweeping away all in its path. There is, you might say, no room for argument.
Rather amazingly, then, the penultimate cut, the acoustic "Trouble's on the Way," is tender and melodic (albeit in no sense sentimental), in the fashion of the pre-blues African-American songsters who performed a wider range of folk, popular and religious music than interested the commercial music industry when it started recording downhome performers in the 1920s, convinced -- falsely -- that rural and small-town black Americans wanted to hear something called "blues" to the exclusion of all else. Songsters such as Mississippi John Hurt, Mance Lipscomb and John Jackson would have to wait to be "rediscovered" (by white folklorists and folk fans) nearly four decades later. "Trouble's," which could easily pass as a turn-of-the-last-century piece, is an unexpectedly beautiful song, with a melancholy refrain that at once saddens and comforts.
I suppose 2007 may produce a handful of blues albums as good as this one -- I hope so, because if that's the case this will be a memorable year indeed -- but when the roll is called and 2007 marches off into lost time, Cashman can boast that it delivered it, in Mississippi Fred McDowell's phrase, straight 'n' natural. Cashman will surely have the awards to prove it. In the meantime, if your blues diet has left you feeling anemic of late, here is every one of your basic nutritional requirements.
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review by
Jerome Clark

26 May 2007

- Jerome Clark

CASHMAN::Texassippi Stomp
April 11th, 2007
Call it raw like a freshly opened musical wound, or perhaps you might give it the name of back porch delta swamp blues where you can feel the mosquitoes dancing on your skin. Either way, this album is meant to be played loud. The album is called “Texassippi Blues” and it couldn’t be more appropriate – a slice of Texas – a pinch of the Mississippi Delta. As someone who spins music for listeners with thirsty earholes an open minds, I find this album to satisfy the senses of those seeking a foot stomper, a “hell yeah” and to be taken back a few steps into the blues that made you remember the first time your caught an earful of the legends. Cashman is Ray Cashman & Gabby Brown, that’s right just the two making all that sound….they get a little help from Mr. Jimbo Mathus on a few tracks and the assist to his fine label, 219 Records. I give you a boot on the backside towards the music outlet of your choice to make this one a priority.
***** MisterG Rating.

Posted by Administrator
- Mr. G

Speaking of house rockers, the second band from my friends at 219 Records simply call themselves Cashman, after the guitar-, dobro-, and bootbox-playing vocalist Ray. Accompanying him on the harmonica is Grant A. Brown and popping in on bass, stella guitar, and snare for four tracks is our hero Jimbo Mathus.

Cashman has a solid roadhouse blues sound throughout Texassippi Stomp. The vocals are strong and mean as he stomps out beats and picks and slides us into a frenzy on blazing blues rockers such as the opening “Black” or “Whatcha Doing?”

Hitting just as hard and fast are tunes such as “Pistol Blues” and the “Rollin’ And Tumblin’”-inspired “Long Road.” Two more driving blues tunes that give you the feeling of biker bars with “tuff” guys named Sonny hanging around buying drinks and ready to throw down with any one stupid enough to step out of line. While holding these tunes together is Brown’s thumping, driving, train whistle “harp” skills. Each track is propelled forward and crashes into the next by his smoke stack attack

These fellas can slow it down as well and still work you over with low-down tunes like “Reefer Headed Women” and the back porch blues of “Baby” and “Trouble’s On The Way.” “Baby” finds Brown playing his best Mississippi Delta harp while “Trouble’s” got him moving west and sounding like a lonely cowhand at the end of a long drive. Cashman’s dobro playing takes center stage here and adds to the western ballad feel. Hell, these boys should put out an album of tough guy cowboy classics and move some more records.

So there you have it. Two driving and edgy blues albums from an independent label that knows good roots rock when they hear it. So here’s to good old-fashioned “tuff” music that reminds you that one beer bottle is for drinking out of while the other stays half full for bustin’ on heads. Thanks, 219 Records, and keep ‘em comin’.
Labels: 219 Records, blues, Cashman, Jimbo Mathus, John Lisi
posted by El Bicho @ 8:33 PM 1 comments links to this post 

- El Bitcho

lonesome back porch acoustic Delta blues and wicked, wang-dang, floorboard-shakin' electric roar from this bootbox stomping duo.
john james - anchorage free press (Mar 29, 2007 - John James

" I don't know how these guys do it, but they sure make me want to turn up my stereo to 11 and piss off all the Goddamned neighbors. Wake them the hell up. Day or night. They'll get a blues education in less than 11 exceptional songs, and I've not heard honest blues this good in a long, long time."
eric rich - washington blues society (Mar 27, 2007)
- eric Rich


2000- Tequila Cowboy
2002- 2000 miles
2005-Black & Blues
2007- Texassippi Stomp ( made the nominating ballot for the "Best Traditional Blues" album category for the 2008 Grammy music awards).



Lord knows good bluesmen are hard to come by nowadays. When I first saw these musicians, the voice, the slide guitar, the harp, all of it touched me deep down in my heart where home used to be. It filled a hunger I didn’t even realize was there until I heard what they had to offer. Then BOOM! The music was there feeding me. Simply stated, these musicians take me there and back with these blues, and it’s exactly where I can’t help but go. They call it “Texasippi Blues” and it’s just what it’s billed – a little bit of Texas – a little bit of the Mississippi Delta. It’s a perfect menu for folks starvin’ for real music that we have not heard a lot of lately. Something far, far away from the slick, made-up, perfectly coiffed stuff served on radio and T.V. these days that passes for music. It’s jumpin’. It’s downhome and gritty. It’s lazy. It’s foot stompin’ on a Saturday night. It’s barbecue at a blues festival. It’s easily all of that in one sitting. This music is not crowded with a lot of extraneous instrumentation or fancy musical trickery. It’s just Ray Cashman & Gabby Brown, simple and to the point, giving a longstanding art new life. Yet, there’s plenty there that harkens back to the past; something rising up from the ashes upon which popular opinion burned its bridges long ago. It touches you even when you’re not expecting it and opens up a forgotten avenue, a refurbished alley, a revamped highway. A new old place to go. It’s songs you know they lived out somewhere along the line. You can tell nobody had to write their songs for them – their songs ARE them... Lynda T. Day