Twelve-Gauge Persuaders

This is the debut album of the mighty Twelve-Gauge Persuaders and offers an excellent cross-section of thier material, from balls-out rockers like Hell's Handbasket to heartbreaking laments like Oh, Rachel. This is the good stuff.

Crumble is the debut album by North Carolina's mighty Twelve-Gauge Persuaders. The all original material by Greg Bauman and Scott Stambaugh displays a surprisingly varied and mature approach to songcraft, while the musicianship displays a chemistry that few bands can boast of.

The album kicks off with Stambaugh's Anywhere But Memphis, a country-rock gem that is immediately accessible and impossible to shake. The Bauman crafted, Stone's influenced lick that ignites Thinkin' 'Bout Leavin' completely transforms a song that started life as a bluegrass inspired Stambaugh solo song. It was this transformation for which the phrase "Persuaderator" was coined.

From there a trio of Bauman originals, the rockin' It Ain't Me You Need To Save, the heartbreaking Twenty Years, and the Grand Funk Railroad-like The Girl Downstairs, show the emotional range of the songcraft available to the Persuaders. "It all comes down to this... alone again, at two a.m. in a barroom on Tuesday night," Bauman sings on Twenty Years, summing up a lifetime of losing in one simple refrain.

The country/Motown influenced You Don't Deserve Your Woman gives way to the straight-out country ballad Oh, Rachel, both songs again showing the range Stambaugh and Bauman bring to the table. Do You Want To Feel My Love? is simply superb, as is the straight-ahead rock of Bauman's Shake Me Down To The Bone.

Crumble finishes with three Stambaugh originals; the haunting Like A River, the joyous First Day Of Spring, and the blistering Hell's Handbasket, the last a lament about the difficulty of trying to have fun in the Bible Belt. "How's the Devil and me ever going to win, when nobody 'round here ever wants to sin?" Indeed.

Bauman and Stambaugh have very different styles of writing and singing and yet the personality of the band always shines through. They sound hungry and the music swings with a vibrancy that is infectious. What is perhaps most surprising is the consistant quality of each track on Crumble. There's not a mutt in the bunch; any of them might have been the best cut on a lesser band's album. What you get here, though, are twelve gems by the Twelve-Gauge Persuaders.

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