(By Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Senior Writer/Journalist, RiffRelevant.com)
If you are at least a modicum familiar with Dee’s solo efforts, then you already know that what he creates is powerfully minimalist, acoustic-oriented music. It is far removed (on the total opposite of the spectrum, really) in comparison to Dee’s involvement within doom legends Iron Man.
He originally branched out in this direction with his début solo album, Rotgut, back in 2016. That album was a surprise success with music fans, they quickly embraced it despite the non-metallic nature of Dee’s lone undertakings.
It was at that time that his Iron Man band mate, bassist Louis Strachan, began providing musical accompaniment to Dee’s live performances. Now Lou is officially involved with things from the ground level up, an empowering conspirator whose presence can be felt all throughout “Go To The Devil“.
Whether you are a metal fanatic or not, or if rock and roll is your bag, whatever, you cannot deny the profound quality of this music. The involving storytelling set to song in such selections as “Common Enemy“, “Born (One Horse Town)“, “The Ballad Of The Dixon Bridge“, and “Dry Heaves And Needles” (video première) is poignant, yet oft times grim.
The latter two tunes mentioned are enthralling compositions deeply rooted in life lessons and observations. Far from pretty pictures, Dee unravels stark events and happenings, laying them bare many times with nothing but his vocals and guitar, plus Lou’s bass.
Other times, Lou is augmenting these numbers in such a way that is simultaneously subtle, yet vigorous. The duo deliver the goods with tracks like the haunting “The Final Stand Of The Fallen” and the masterful title cut, “Go To The Devil“.
All are great, of course, but I was particularly enthralled by some of the more intensified, darker-hewn ditties, ala “Bedevil Me” and the heart-wrenching “Your Face“. The latter is laced with such emotion, the kind obtained only by wounding, that is nigh impossible to not be somehow moved upon hearing it.
Then there is “Jesus, The Devil, The Deed“, a simmering, backwoodsy song inspired by that ages-old battle for the soul of Man. The song and its spiritually centered contents are on such a large-scale that Dee expanded on them with a book!
Yep, his second time out as author, “Jesus, Devil, Deed” was published in August 2017, something he and I discussed in an interview at the time. You can read that revealing conversation HERE.
It is my humble opinion that Dee Calhoun – and of course, Lou Strachan – have crafted an incredible collection of alluring music here. I expect that “Go To The Devil“, like its predecessor, will impress untold hordes of folks that hear it, regardless of what their preferred cup of aural tea may be. Drink up!
Pre-order / purchase Dee Calhoun‘s “Go To The Devil” at THIS LOCATION.
Dee, Louis, and The Devil make three… that are going on tour in Europe next month. You can find that tour’s itinerary below. Don’t forget, they will be performing at the upcoming Maryland Doom Festival IV in Frederick, MD this June.
“THE DEVIL OVER EUROPE – Spring Tour” tour dates:
April 19, Aalborg, Denmark, 1000FRYD
April 20, TBA, Netherlands/North West Germany
April 21, Freiburg, Germany, WHITE RABBIT CLUB
April 22, Prague, Czech Rep., MODRA VOPICE
April 23, Budapest, Hungary, S8 UNDERGROUND
April 24, Maribor, Slovenia, DVORANA GUSTAF PEKARNA
April 25, Saint-Maurice, Switzerland, MANOIR PUB
April 26, Milan, Italy, BLUE ROSE SALOON
April 27, Turin, Italy, TBA
April 28, Nancy, France, THE RIVETER
April 29, TBA, North Germany/Denmark