Slim Bawb
©2009 Swampgrass Records
Review by Lucky Boyd

What Southern Culture on the Skids did for rockabilly, Slim Bawb has done for bluegrass, zydeco, country, and the blues.  Not since Reese’s dropped peanut butter into chocolate have we experienced such a smooth blending of staple favorites.  Features of mandolin and banjo intertwined into blues and even rock rhythms make for one of the most interesting albums of the year.  Bawb is Bob Pearce and the persona is in tact throughout as Pearce pens eight of the cuts, co-writes three, two with fellow MTM member Bob Cheevers.  You’ll even hear left-turn takes on “Oh Lonesome Me” and “Georgia On My Mind.”  The true hero of the album is the music as Slim Bawb takes you on a journey that introduces you to ‘swampgrass,’ a term you’re going to hear more about as time goes on.  Described by some as a marriage between bluegrass and bayou music made popular in Louisiana, and depicted by others as a concoction of delta blues and Kentucky bluegrass, true ‘swampgrass’ encompasses the swampiness of southern blues, the dance factor of zydeco, the instrumentation of bluegrass, and the rhythm section of R&B, country or rock.  It’s a coat of many colors, not just influences, but the actual expression in some form of all the aforementioned styles…. together….at once.  It takes a special musician to pull it off, too.  Pearce is a multi-album veteran of the West Coast music scene who finally found his calling as a Texan.  He picks up musical styles and makes them his own much like tracking mud in on your shoes.  Regardless of the style, the more he’s exposed to it, the more it sticks to him, and the more it shows up in his music.  The disc is a feel good release with no downers per se, and no filler at all.  Every track is a gem and listeners will see right through the mock redneck sachet to the musical genius inside.  Musicians who hear this disc will be lining up to play on the next CD as Bawb sounds like he would be loads of fun to perform with.  It’s almost a shame to pay him for this disc because it doesn’t sound like it was work for him; it was all play time and fun.  The result of the fun, however, is a honed-to-perfection album that will spend more than its allotted time in your player.  On tunes like “Short Change” you’ll find yourself tapping along and relating quickly to Bawb’s character development.  Shout out to fellow MTM member Tres Womack for appearing on the album, and kudos to Fred, who appears courtesy of his agent, who is most likely preparing the new contracts as we speak.  Musically sound, well-written, and expertly performed, Slim Bawb may have released the perfect blue-country-zyd-a-grass… well, you get the picture.