Every so often you get a release that transcends any genre specific keywords, removes any clarity as to specific values or trends, and just delivers a strong set of performances typical of a higher set of vibes, a noted well-strum of achievement. The killer. Like that first wiff of the sativa, the damp intriguing scent of the earth paired with some cosmic virtue that emerges as the squash blooms then matures in the springtime, calling the mists of ghostly apparitions, the songs of your ancestors, visiting for another storied hoedown. You open the doors to your mind to the engulfment of the specter. You greet the Shapeshifter, with a smile. 'Cause you know it's gonna be good.
So by the time you get to the tattlin' Preacher Man, you have already traveled those gravel back roads, stopping at the roadhouse on edge of the boondocks, title cutter blaring wide open. Building on that which follows the kick off barn burner Bring Down The Rain. At this point you just feel it in your bones, you got sumptin' special. The tickling spells of Appalachia have entwined with garage grit over layered on some semblance of the proverbial acid trip. This much is proven on Long Time Ago, as the title fits above symbolically. You'll remember the troubles, but you can't, never, forget the pleasures. It was and is a special time. Always right to blow yer mind, to crank up the jams.
That's the special magic of Chicken Snake, that clever fogginess of voodoo defined as rock n roll, with a snake eye beat that puts feet on the floor; an entranced whirlwind of wicked commencement, as the festivities begin. It may be the hometown festival, a theater of the enthralled, or the wide open fields of the festival. Wherever, still, Shapeshifter is there, lurking, at times you can glimpse it, that pure greatness that comes with a knowing smile, of those who have tasted Chicken Snake when the moon is right. Cold Night For Alligators is all this, and more.
Brake bucking on Don't Look At Me, or playful spirituals on Devil Moon, what counts is the rhythm of the roundabout, the bleeding heart of the skally wag. Draggin' a leg or pitchin forward like a pressure pill overdose, or you can if you want, just sit back and observe. However it is much more fun if you get up and participate. Folks won't mind, you're just another who have experienced it, that, thing, that mystery, that incredible folk music of the soul that takes you, compels you, commands you....
That is the essence of Shapeshifter. And in the end, that's all that counts. That you have finally found it, heard it, seen it, embraced that ride. #1 With A Bullet, for a lifetime baby.
All the hail the mighty Chicken Snake!