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Snake Head Ritual: Snake Head Ritual

Ohio blues rockers’ tidy debut.

If white men can play the blues, there’s nothing to stop northerners playing southern rock. Or even Midwesterners like this Toledo, Ohio five-piece.

When you notice that one of the tracks is entitled Whiskey Woman, you probably know roughly how it sounds before it starts. But that’s no bad thing in SHR’s case – this is proudly traditional, post-Skynyrd stuff, and on riff-driven, sinewy grooves like She’s A Shaker, it delivers in some style.

Kevin Chez’s barroom-belter vocals help in that pursuit, as do the twin guitars of Bill McCullough and John Keller. Thankfully, they also possess what too many heavy blues bands lack – a real Muscle Shoals-style feel to their playing. All of which makes penultimate track Northern Boogie a statement of intent you can believe in. It ain’t where you’re from, it’s where you’re at./o:p

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock