New York City might seem like the last place you’d look to hear various strains of Southern rock ‘n’ roll. But listening to the work of New York-based outfit Gideon’s Army, you hear the swelter and humidity that can only come from someone who completely understands the rhythms and substance of classic Southern rock. Their passion-filled guitar solos, gritty vocals, and noticeable blues and soul influence show a true connection with this type of music. Don’t get me wrong-this isn’t your typical rock that’s been weathered and left out to dry in the Georgia heat. Gideon’s Army takes the core elements of their influences-namely classic rock artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and The Rolling Stones, as well as rustic rockers like The Allman Brothers and Black Oak Arkansas-and inverts their approach until we’re left with just the bare, sun-bleached remains.
Fronted by singer-guitarist Robert Bray, Gideon’s Army has a devoted international following and 2 full-length albums under their belt, “Burn for the Living” and their latest ‘King of the Leaugue’. Recorded with Anthony Gallo (Yeasayer, KRS-One, Norah Jones) at Virtue and Vice Studio in Brooklyn. ‘King of the League’ finds the band continuing their foray into displaced Southern rock and discovering that geography doesn’t play into it so much as your instinct and ingenuity. Their songs are gleefully bucolic and possess an inherent flexibility and twang that are easy to spot but difficult to explain. Notions of comparisons to other mainstream Southern rock groups are as useless as they are ultimately self-defeating. Bray doesn’t want his music eclipsed by his influences-and regardless, once you’ve heard Gideon’s Army, those musical antecedents quickly melt into the background.