CD Review The Mystix – Can’t Change It
by Antony Bailey for Country Music News International
A year has passed since The Mystix, a six-piece Americana band fusing country, blues, gospel, and folk reaching as far back as the early twentieth century released their seventh studio album entitled ‘’Can’t Change It’’ The album was produced by the band’s drummer Marco Giovani and self-released without a record label.
The first track on the album is a cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Outlaw Blues’ which showcases the lead singer Jo Lilly ability to replicate the rugged, harsh tone of Bob Dylan whilst simultaneously taking the song and making it his own. The song structure follows a traditional and common Blues format known as ‘AAB’ where the first line ‘A’ is repeated twice and often presents a problem or an issue which is followed by a resolution to the problem knows as ‘B’. The second song on the album is a cover of Timi Yuro’s ‘Aint Gonna Cry’ and does the original song justice as it reveals the quality and skill that Timi Yuro had in abundance.
The third track on the album introduces the first original song ‘Carrie’. The instrumentation includes vocals, drums, acoustic guitar, and pedal steel. The track is a blend of blues, folk, and country and is fairly poignant, and melancholy in its tonality whilst a gentle approach combined with a relatively slow tempo contributes to feelings of eeriness and sorrow.
Let’s Get Started
Let’s Get Started shares similarities to the previous track evoking feelings of sadness and leaving the listener longing for the return of a bygone era and/or someone dear to them. The rugged and harsh vocal tonality combined with the stretched notes played on the fiddle creates an eeriness and sense of sorrow. A quality recording that I have played listened to on a number of occasions.
The North Mississippi Allstars
A song seven minutes in length and the longest track on the album. The band uses its platform to showcase its unique sound and credit has to go to the drummer and producer of the band’s latest album as the reverb from the vocals sound as if they are being delivered via a tannoid rather than an SM58 which is often used in studios for Western Contemporary Music by singers and backing vocalists.
Bottle Of Whiskey
The song includes a harmonica solo from legendary session musician Charlie McCoy, known for working with the likes of Elvis Pressley, Johnny Cash, and Bob Dylan to name but a few. This song just so happens to be my favourite on the album. Perhaps it is a change to a 6/8 meter combined with a suave yet soothing tone or simply because the song has whiskey in its title. Either way, the song hits the spot for anyone looking for country blues crossovers or purely looking to discover something new.
Brand New Love
Despite there not being any drums on this track, an increase in tempo and dynamics mixed with a shuffle rhythm shifts the music into a different space concerned with country blues. A quality song on the album characterising the deep south will have avid country fans hooked from start to finish.
Wouldn’t Mind Dying
‘’I wouldn’t mind dying, but I got to go by myself’’ is the refrain repeated throughout the intro of the song and have no doubt it would be great to do a call and response with the audience at live performances. one cannot help but to sing along despite the lyrics being incredibly gloomy and mysterious.
Rather melancholy with a feeling of dejection as he pleads with a girl to stick around and not walk away. The vocals are rather hoarse and croaky which creates a sense of tension and anguish. The tempo of the song is relatively slow even by comparison to some of the earlier songs on the album. The song is intended to tug on the heartstrings and resonates with anybody who can relate to the meaning behind the lyrics.
That’s All, That’s All
A stark contrast to the previous track with a sudden increase in pulse, rhythm, and dynamics. The rhythm mimics that of a steam train as well as the backing vocals imitating the sound of a steam train blowing its horn. The song made me feel as though as I was on a train travelling through the country.
I Can’t Change It
‘’I can’t change but I’m tryin’ to do right’’ stirs a contrast of emotions as the song is sorrowful yet offers strength, hope, and a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. The song is about once being thief and suggests that we all need people around us who can help us to improve as people. No matter how strong we try to be, we are all human and need the right people around us to guide us on the path to emotional healing and righteousness. The track will especially resonate with those who have experienced hardship, loneliness, abandonment, and addiction.
Going To The River
‘’I’m going to the river, I’m gonna sit right down and cry’’ and ‘’you got me baby on the day you said goodbye’’ is about the end of a relationship. The hoarse and rugged deliverance of the lyrics combined with the fluctuation in pitch from the fiddle stirs a cocktail of emotions as he pleads with his lover to forgive him and allow him back into her life. Going to the river also has religious significance as baptisms are performed in rivers in many parts of the world as a means to cleans people of their sins in order to be born again.
A soothing guitar tone combined with a gentle approach from the rhythm section sets the scene for what sounds a little more like a fusion between Country, Jazz, and Blues in the penultimate song on the album. The song sounds dreamy as this was the intention and sounds quite therapeutic, calming, and offers the listener a sense of healing. The song provides a sense of emancipation and a release from stress and worries that we often encounter in life.
Jumper ft. The North Mississippi Allstars
The final song on the album featuring The North Mississippi Allstars. The structure of the song follows and AAB format. As mentioned earlier in the review, it is common with Blues music as the song is a blend of country blues and blue grass. I personally enjoyed listening to the album and the production with the music itself is of top quality and I would recommend the album to country fans young and old as well as anybody who wishes to discover something different by stepping away from the beaten path.