Review: The Kentucky Headhunters – That’s a Fact Jack!
Practice House Records / BFD Distribution (October 22nd 2021)
Reviewer: Chris OConnor
Make no mistake, The Kentucky Headhunters have more than earned the mantle of Southern Rock Royalty, their timeless and wonderful music, unswayed by fads or fashions, is always played with verve and elan, and executed in a way that is uniquely their own. During lockdown, with no tour to think of, and having not released any new material since 2016’s ‘On Safari’, the band retreated to their home studio, and got busy creating this stunning new album. Which is also the first to come out on the bands own label.
The bands line-up has remained unchanged for a decade now, consequently featuring Greg Martin (lead guitars/backing vocals), Doug Phelps (bass guitars/backing vocals), Fred Young (drums/backing vocals), and Richard Young (lead vocals/rhythm guitars). The band also self-produced the album, thus keeping everything entirely in house, and the end result is nothing short of superb!
The band have always fused Southern Rock with Country and Blues, and this album is no exception, sounding refreshed and enthused, the bands passion shines through from beginning to end. I’s a hip shakin’, boot stompin’ feel good release, very welcome during this exhausting Covid era, the leadoff single ‘How Could I?’ is a shining example of the bands mission statement this time around, all Slide ‘Geetars’ and pumping rhythms, and damn … it’s SO good!
‘Susannah’ is a song about long distance relationships and the challenges attached, and while it sounds painful, it’s also not negative at all, which is unusual in itself. ‘Cup Of Tea’ brings to mind the ‘Stones at their rootsiest, while ‘We Belong Together’ is a gentle paean to true love, with a gently lilting groove and an impassioned vocal. The title track is a pumping and stomping riff-fest, a song that will surely quickly become a live favourite, now the band is back on the road at last.
This is an album of contrasting sounds and styles, as an example, the wistful ‘Lonely Too Long’ might well have come from the ‘Stones circa ‘Black & Blue’, while ‘Heart And Soul’ is a country guitar-picking ‘hoedown’, which is followed by the lazy river that is ‘Cheap Tequila’, a track that Govt Mule would have been proud to write … so the album never gets boring, mixing it up constantly.
‘Shotgun Effie’ is a high energy Southern Rock number, blistering along with thunderous intent, and is one of the real highpoints of the album for me. The band NEARLY blows it at the end by adding a Christmas song – something I have a deep and abiding hatred of. However, while the song begins with a riff that suggests the band is about to play a lazy interpretation of ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’ – it quickly becomes apparent that this is very tongue in cheek. ‘Let’s All Get Together And Fight’ is a laconic and wise cracking take on the festive season.
‘That’s The Fact Jack!’ is a truly terrific album, one that upholds the bands own high traditions, and as a result, it’s an absolutely unmissable purchase. If you love Southern Rock, then this is an indispensable addition to your collection. Welcome back to The Kentucky Headhunters, we missed you! Don’t you dare leave it so long next time! Hell Yeah!