“Lights, Camera, Gourds”
Missoula Independent, April 19, 2012
The Gourds don’t limit themselves to the classic subjects of roots rock; they’ve written about everything from preachers to Sufis to the National Football League. The Austin, Texas bands most recent album, 2011’s Old Mad Joy, features a highly catchy tune called Peppermint City, that begins with ‘You wonder out loud how it came to this/threadbare and broke at the Hotel Abyss/My heart is black but in my sack I got a taco and half a pack of vitriol and self-abuse.’ This one employs the classic Gourds Southern Rock groove. Those lyrics show frontman Kevin Russel’s imagination at work.
The Gourds have developed a solid following in Missoula ever since uber-fan JR Roof brought them here in 2001. You might have seen that first show at the Blue Heron, or any at the Other Side or the Wilma or The Top Hat or downtown at the River City Roots Festival. Another longtime fan of the band is filmmaker Doug Hawes-Davis of High Plains Films who’s renowned for the documentary FACING THE STORM: STORY OF THE AMERICAN BISON, among other films. He attended the first Missoula Gourds show and every one thereafter, and when he heard a rough mix of Old Mad Joy, he got to talking with the band about a documentary. Hawes-Davis started filming ALL THE LABOR in August 2011. He and a large crew toured with the band to make the film, collecting commentary by band members, concert footage, archival images and completely candid and entertaining behind-the-scenes footage that captures the quintet wonderfully.
The band’s up-coming shows in Missoula, Bozeman, and Billings will be part of the final footage shot for the film, which means Montana Gourds fans can go see the show and be a part of the doc.
Check out the films kickstarter campaign. It includes an awesome teaser. One of the songs that has plagued The Gourds for so long - because its a cover and has been so over-requested, is Snoop Doggs Gin and Juice. That issue is comically addressed in the teaser when Russell and Big Rich, the club owner at Courvilles in Beaumont, Texas says, ‘First person says Gin and Juice I’m gonna knock ‘em out,’ and Russell laughs a big belly laugh saying, ‘Oh man!’ and gives him a high-five. The sense of humor and musical talent is palpable here.