The Devil's Got A Hold On Me played a show at the Glass Onion in Gadsden. I'd seen them play several times and was excited to see them tear up my local vinyl fix. Though the crowd was minimal (welcome to Gadsden!), the trio gave us their all. At least the cool people showed up. Per usual, Keith's guitar was loud and nasty and dirty and effortless. Brad killed on drums, pounding the beat with a sufficient prowess and an excess of violence. I've never heard anyone ask, "Where's the bass guitar?". The duo was, as always, tight and unhinged at the same time.
And then there was Nathan...
Nate yelled into the microphone. He was always angry, hurt, determined. He mostly sang looking down. Or maybe inward. I never once saw the man sing to an audience. Never. He refused to face us beyond a passing glimpse. We were a corner into which he had backed. In reality, he was a nice guy who loved his family and friends. He was a proud supporter of the independent music scene. But when performing, he was somewhere else. He was something else. For the space of a 20 minute set, he was a volcanic island, erupting and raging in the center of a ravaging noise hurricane. Sweat rained and the racket whipped around. The walls and the floor shook. He stood his ground and fought back at the waves. When it was all over, the sun came out. Nathan Baugh looked up into it.
Now that island is gone...
Nate passed away on Christmas Eve, 2015. If you would like to donate to help his family with expenses, please visit Nathan Baugh's funeral fund on GoFundMe. Money is tight for a lotta folks this time of the year, but any amount helps. And after ya do that, check out this tune The Devil's Got A Hold On Me contributed to the GAD! digital comp, So This Is What They Were Talkin' About....
Friday, December 4, 2015
Caught wind of this band based on a recommendation by another Huntsville-area musician, Judson Charles Law. What was once a wind has blossomed into a full-blown Alabama mobile-home chompin’ tornado. If memory serves, he used the words “Replacements” and “Springsteen” as reference anchors for the band. At that point, my eyes glazed over, and everything took on the appearance of the backdrop of the Twilight Zone movie freakouts. And to the benefit of Mr. Law, full credence is due to his ascertainment.
I have gone very few days in the last two months not spinning this record. I have listened to it on days when I was telling myself “not Nato Coles again. Find something else. Anything.” And like any female protagonist in almost every romantic comedy produced in the last thirty years, I kept returning, powerless to its charms, to my renegade, maverick romantic interest, Nato Coles (& The Blue Diamond Band, where noted).
In a nutshell, Nato Coles is the early sector of Bruce Springsteen's career (up to and including Born In The U.S.A.) if maybe it had been prescribed some type of anti-depressant instead. The blue-collar, heart-on-the-sleeve raw honesty and emotion is there, the street-level perspective intact, but it ends up leaving one with the feeling of excitement at the prospect of a bold, cross-country adventure, rather than the urge to go commit suicide at the nearest railyard on the cloudiest day of the year. There are also touches of Ryan Adams, Jeremy Porter And The Tucos, Lucero, etc. It’s self-aware and introspective and self-examinate enough to provide sustenance to the soul, nutrition to the spirit, but is enough fun to be able to put on and mindlessly bullet down the highway en route to a destination free of the bridles that attach themselves to creature comforts we all seem to need to make the modern human condition sufferable.
In closing: Go on bandcamp, get everything they have for sale, and go out and “See Some Lights.”
[This review (and many others) appear in the upcoming Issue 10 of GAD!]