16 Horsepower: David Eugene Edwards (vocals, guitar, banjo, bandoneon, lap steel); Keven Soll (acoustic bass, cello, background vocals); Jean-Yves Tola (drums, background vocals).
Additional personnel: Gordon Gano (fiddle).
Recorded at Ardent Studios, Memphis, Tennessee.
On SACKCLOTH 'N' ASHES, 16 Horsepower wade through a murky world of old-time sin and redemption. The band creates a distinctive hillbilly-gothic sound with the help of various vintage and handmade instruments, and songwriter David Eugene Edwards' haunted, atonal vocals. Edwards--who plays, among other things, the bandoneon (an early twentieth century accordion) and the banjo--is backed by the military-style drumming of Jean-Yves Tola, and Keven Soll on a flat-top, acoustic bass. The musical result is one part country, two parts Julee Cruise--particularly on songs such as "Horse Head," which features Edwards' voice in a desolate, lo-fi guise, sounding like a keening Tom Waits in hillbilly country. Thematically, this is darkly religious territory, full of death-related imagery and stern spirituality, set against a finely tuned, grim sense of drama. 16 Horsepower seem to hail from a long-ago era, with a horse-and-buggy vernacular that includes lines like these from "Black Bush": "These are the great dust bowl days/Just take a gander round ya/Everything in a wicked haze."
- Format: Vinyl
- Genre: Pop