It's hard to call things "Southern rock" without summoning the scourge of Lynyrd Skynyrd, but it's a pretty unavoidable term hereAlabama's Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires make soulful rock 'n' roll and country-inflected songs tinged with Southern accents and images of red dirt and whiskey. The band's May 2012 debut, There is a Bomb in Gilead, reminds me of the sweetness of Tennessee's Glossary, who, like Bains, has toured with Austin Lucas. The album's title comes from a gospel lyric Bains misheard as a kid in Birmingham, according to the band's bio.
As someone who normally avoids music that needs more than two words to describe it, I've had trouble pinning down what it is I like about Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires. It finally came together in my brain when I heard Bains reference Fugazi and Fear on "Righteous, Ragged Songs." Bains has some punk in his past, and he spent a few years playing for the raucous Dexateens. Punk rock is all about stripping music to the essentials, and even when bands give it up to try gentler or more varied sounds, that same straightforward approach often seems to remain pretty intact. Most of Bains' songs are short and to-the-point; solos are kept sweet and tight. Plenty of bands try to play soulful rock and country; not many make it sound as fresh and honest as Lee Bains.
Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires play the Palace Fri., Oct. 18., at 9 PM, along with Austin Lucas. $5.