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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