The best scene in Walk The Line is where Johnny Cash auditions for Sam Philips by playing a gospel song. Johnny was a huge fan of gospel and his gospel records are some of the best stuff he ever recorded. But in this scene Sam Philips says he’s not buying it and Johnny asks if he’s saying he doesn’t think he believes in God. Anyway Johnny proceeds to sing one of his own songs, “Fulsom Prison” and the rest is history. If Johnny had sung that gospel song with the same fevered intensity of Mike Gunther & His Restless Souls perhaps Sam Phillips would have signed him up after only one song.
I’m a fan of music that has religious themes but I’m also a fan of bands that sing with the passion and fire of a Pentacostal preacher on acid. You can add Mike Gunther & His Restless Souls to the short list of bands performing in this genre (Legendary Shack Shakers, Rev. Horton Heat etc). The bands new record Burn It Down For The Nails comes out April 4 on Heart of a Champion. The songs I’ve heard have and intensity and clarity that you don’t hear everyday. I love the bio given for Mike Gunther. To recap he taught himself guitar at age 14 after hearing Robert Johnson on the radio, he’s hopped freight cars, skipped school to study music and had every job under the sun.
Compare and contrast:
Legendary Shack Shakers from the 2006 release on Yep Roc Pandelirium.