Title - When The Sh*t Goes Down
Artist - Nine Pound Hammer
For those not in the know, not unlike myself, fueled by boredom and worry, Nine Pound Hammer fired it up during the dark winter of 2020 to record their new album, When The Sh*t Goes Down (available October 16th, 2021 on Acetate Records).
For their 8th studio album, original members Scott Luallen and Blaine Cartwright (Nashville Pussy), reached out to Ramones producer Daniel Rey, who braved the Kentucky elements to throw a gas can on the bonfire, helping the band conjure 13 new Cowpunk Spirituals™ that are guaranteed to cure what ails ya.
“I’d worked with Daniel Rey several times before and knew he’d be perfect for Nine Pound Hammer,” says Cartwright, “his emphasis on hooks, guitar tone, attitude, energy, vocal delivery is right up Hammer’s alley. We’re basically the Kentucky Ramones and I know Daniel misses the Ramones - so it was a great fit.”
The songs on When The Sh*t Goes Down also hold a mirror to Kentucky’s current atmosphere and environment. “I work in the recovery community and felt I needed to convey what I was seeing and hearing,” Luallen clarifies.
“Yeah, Scott and I had several phone calls over the last few years,” Cartwight continues, “We both had tunes but no lyrics. Neither of us knew what to write about, but we’d always end up talking about his job dealing all the Kentucky opioid deaths.”
“So, we decided to write about Kentucky and paint a real picture of modern small city life and give the stories a bad ass, punk rock soundtrack.”
Then flipping though a recent issue of Kerrang! Magazine they saw a map of the USA, and the best punk band in each state and written inside the state of Kentucky was “Nine Pound Hammer.”
“It was so inspiring!” asserts an excited Cartwright, “Seriously, screw all these retro fake hillbilly long beard bands strumming a banjo and singing about trains they never caught. This is an album of it’s time!”
“There’s still a lot of humor, food songs and Hammer trademark tunes, but there’s a sense of urgency, especially in the vocals, that’s as strong as it was in our debut LP.”
1. What Kind Of God
2. When The Shit Goes Down
3. A Girl Like That
4. Drunk, Babies & Fools
5. Street Chicken
6. 2 Legged Dope
7. Mama Lied
8. Billy Lost His Feet
9. One Last Midnight
10. Get The Hell Off The Farm
11. Possum Kickin’ FSESOB
12. Daviess Co Tractor Massacre
13. Lizard Brain
14. Best Of All Possible Worlds (Kristofferson cover)
This amazingly vibrant and highly gladsome album opens on the pounding What Kind Of God and the rambunctiously melodic title track When The Sh*t Goes Down and backs those up with the alt-rock of both A Girl Like That and the drum-led Drunk, Babies & Fools, the affluent late ’70s punk angst of Street Chicken, and then come a couple of devoted Southern rockers in the guitar-laden 2 Legged Dope and the countrified Mama Lied.
Up next are the weighty, Texas blues rock guitars of Billy Lost His Feet and the low slung country balladry of One Last Midnight which in turn are followed by the gently frenetic Get The Hell Off The Farm, the full-frontal guitar assault of both Possum Kickin’ FSESOB and Daviess Co Tractor Massacre, the album rounding out on the short, but sweet, feverish alt-rock of Lizard Brain, closing on the brilliantly wry drinking and jail song Best Of All Possible Worlds (from Kris Kristofferson’s debut album), and which is still ornamented with a ragtime, alt-blues guitar lick from the boys.
So after 35 years what keeps Nine Pound Hammer going? Luallen is quick to answer, “We still have these songs in us that we want to hear, and it’s honestly sad to imagine us and the other few bands still kickin’ it from our era going away forever. I appreciate seeing these bands and know people appreciate seeing us. It’s good for the soul.”
“These are the coolest guys I know, we’d all hang out anyway,” Cartwright expands, “But instead of getting together and telling each other boring stories about our jobs, mortgages and the good times we used to have, we crank up the amps and learn Judas Priest tunes. That’s way better, believe me. Way, way, way better!”
The cover art, illustrated by Tim Gabor, depicts 4 of Kentucky’s favorite sons – Bill Monroe, Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Boone and Col. Sanders. “I was kickin’ around several concepts, like a Kentucky All-Stars cover with everyone from Abe, Warren Oates, Dwight, Ali, etc., but narrowed it down to the ‘Mt. Rushmore of Kentucky,’ people that have made a global impact. I mean those are some heavy hitters!” Luallen explains.
• Scott Luallen – Vocals
• Blaine Cartwright – Guitar / Vocals
• Earl Crim – Guitar
• Mark Hendricks – Bass
• Brian Pulito - Drums
Official Purchase Link
Official Nine Pound Hammer Facebook Page