The Weight are a Brooklyn, NY based country rock band that, in spite of it’s North-Eastern local, delivers the Southern-fried goods. The band was beget by singer/songwriter and veteran of the Atlanta, GA, punk rock scene Joseph Plunket who began dabbled in country music and recorded several EPs and one long-player with a revolving cast of musicians as he tapped his inner hillbilly.
Now blessed with a stable and top-notch line up Plunket, along with Fletcher “Poor Boy” Johnson on guitar, piano, and harmonica, Will Noland on bass, Jay Ellis on drums and Johnny Carpenter on pedal steel, has recorded an album of shear authentic and audacious country-rock, stripped clean of post-whatever and 100% free of ironic smugness. Imagine as the 60’s came to a close that back off in the woods of Saugerties, NY the Band had hung out with Gram Parsons instead of Dylan cutting tracks in the basement of Big Pink, that alternate history it might have sounded something like this.
The Weight’s newest release “The Weight Are Men” kicks off with a gentle strumming of “Like Me Better,” a bittersweet barroom testament to love gone wrong delivered by Plunket in his earnestly gruff vocal style. The highway rave-up “Had It Made” follows with its Southern boogie roots planted firmly in Chuck Berry’s territory.
“Johnny’s Song” is a lulling tune on life and love that builds to a big singalong finale and “Talkin” is a tune taken right from the Neil Young book of groove-roots compositions (complete with yawning harmonica) and offers one of my favorite lines from the album – “Give me a lady and rent control, it might take one, it might take both, to satisfy my soul.”
“Sunday Driver” is reminiscent of the best of The Band’s bittersweet compositions. It’s a slow-moving, pedal-steel laced gem that really showcases Plunket’s voice. “Hillbilly Highway” is a traveling man’s fiddle-laced yearn to come back to his love that should be on mainstream country radio (it won’t be, mainstream country is too rigid and short-sighted.) “A Day In The Sun” is a harmonica fueled Southern boogie gives a the release a woozy “Sticky Fingers” send off.
Bottom line, “The Weight Are Men” is one of the best roots-rock releases of 2008.