Between the City of Brotherly Love and the Steel Belt of Pittsburgh, there's plenty of rural countryside in the state of Pennsylvania. So when Pearls & Brass drummer Daughn Gibson wasn't touring the U.S. playing that band's strain of heavy '70s-style rock, he took blue-collar gigs as a long-haul trucker and warehouse worker. And, when that band ended, Gibson took to recording his own music. His 2012 solo debut, All Hell, found his country roots showing through the crackly lo-fi loops and stark piano songs, all of it sticking thanks to Gibson's well-deep baritone.
On Gibson's new album, Me Moan (out July 9), that powerful instrument is still nuanced enough to capture details such as downing an afternoon shot at a local bar ("Kissin on the Blacktop") and breaking into cars with a state trooper's daughter ("The Pisgee Nest"). Country fans will hear a baritone that hearkens back to the likes of Waylon Jennings and the Oak Ridge Boys, while other listeners might detect a trace of Ian Curtis or the drawl of Wall of Voodoo. The homemade solo country-noir of his debut now gets fleshed out by a real band, featuring pedal steel, cello, trombone and Ry Cooder-like guitar work from members of Baroness and Brokeback. Remaining front and center, though, is Gibson's voice, which remains as dark and thick as blackstrap molasses.