A collaboration between former Sequoyah Prep School headmaster Justin Osborne and Charleston indie rocker Johnny Delaware, SUSTO takes a darker, rootsier direction than either of their résumés might suggest. The word “Susto,” according to the band’s own bio, is a term describing a “folk illness” — apt nomenclature for the kind of moss-drenched Americana in which the band wraps its songs.
Opening with “Black River Gospel,” SUSTO establishes its Southern gothic stance right away, dropping in snippets of various old-time hymn lyrics as the tale of indoctrination in the songs of faith unfolds: “We were up onstage like a sacrifice to God,” they sing, “that’s the price you pay when you grow up in the South.”
Like Flannery O’Connor, they’re not afraid to expose unpleasant truths. “Motorcycle Club” is a crisp and bitter hallucinatory diatribe that’s part Steve Earle, part Neil Young & Crazy Horse, with a chorus that declares, “There’s a demon in me in the Holy City.”
Osborne imports at least one song from his Sequoyah days with the acoustic night moves of “Friends, Lovers, Ex-Lovers, Whatever.” It’s an easygoing tune that’s a Todd Snider wisecrack or two away from becoming a classic, but as stories of loyalty and friendship go, it’s a catchy one with clear sing-along potential.
The closing “Smoking Outside” is a mellow exit for this introduction to the older, more mature singer-songwriter in both Osborne and Delaware, relying on cautionary lines like, “I tell her all the time, ‘You can rock ‘n’ roll any day’ / I tell her all the time, ‘Just keep it to once a day,’” and closing with a gorgeous instrumental coda worthy of Blue Rodeo or Chris Isaak; it doesn’t really end, it just fades gently into the distance as the performance continues, suggesting more to come from this promising new project.
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Refresh Renew Massage and Facial at Spa 131
Let us put the zen back in your spirit and a glow in your complexion. This 60-minute relaxing massage and cleansing, nourishing facial are available at a special rate now through the end of January. Click here for location info, pricing, testimonials, and more.
In The Red and Brown Water at Trustus
Trustus Theatre’s newest show opening Friday, January 23rd combines poetry, movement, music, and song to tell the story of a young Louisiana girl thrust into womanhood. Click here for a list of performance dates and to purchase tickets. For mature audiences.
Surreal Innovation Salon Now Open
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