Andrea & Mud Make Badass Tunes Outta Bad News

Neotraditionalist honky-tonk acts often emphasize humor and lowbrow lyrical themes to reinforce the rustic, old timey (mainly mid-20th century American) associations the music effectively conjures. Atlanta twang bar queen ‘n’ king Andrea & Mud are certainly not averse to such practices; their songs tend to be lighthearted and fun even when tragic, but what’s most impressive about their second album, Bad News Darlin’, is the scope and fullness of the performances, which sound simultaneously immediate and like they were piped in via an old Silvertone AM radio from another time and place.

The duo dabbles in a range of comfortably related retro-fitted styles and genres on their follow-up to 2018’s Easy, Sleazy and Greazy, most noticeably surf, rockabilly, spaghetti western and country music, the latter generally more Bakersfield than Nashville. They alternate lead vocals, sometimes within the same song, Kyle “Mud” Moseley’s smooth yet rugged baritone contrasting sharply with Andrea Colburn’s liquored-up Southern gal drawl, wise and worldly and a little world-weary.

There’s trouble afoot right off the bat as “Lines” finds Andrea confronting her wandering man, while Mud’s electric guitar rumbles and reverberates in the hot sun, Chad Paulin’s mariachi trumpet moans and Tre Watts’ upright bass punctuates the drama with prominent plucks. Brett Resnick’s pedal steel shines throughout “Birmingham AL 8:30 AM” as our protagonists engage in a white trash heap of debauchery and bad decisions, “tryin’ to tie one on the size of Tennessee.” Organ and singing saw spook up “Hellhounds” while “Send Your Love My Way” accentuates the yearning with doo-wop/girl group backing vocals. The subjects of “Used Car Salesman” are so easy, sleazy and greazy they could’ve inspired the title of the previous album, prompting a nagging need in the listener to scrub off the grime once they zip up. Both Moseley’s dry, dusty kiss-off “Leave” and Colburn’s exquisite rendering of Brenda Lee’s woeful breakup ballad “End of the World” segue into autonomous instrumental codas, the former an ambling appendix littered with gunfire, the latter a surf ‘n’ sax shindig with its own title, “Bullwinkle Pt. 3.” Suffice to say, Bad News Darlin’ is a weird, entertaining and enchanting collage of American clutter and clatter, certainly one with deeper reach than you might initially assume.

For your listening and viewing pleasure, here’s one of the more amusing ditties off Bad News Darlin’, a rollicking ode – carried along by Matt Jordan’s jaunty piano – to the rejuvenating combo of Majestic pancakes and a little weed after a rowdy night guzzlin’ down all the whiskey at the Star Bar. The video for “Yer Majesty” was filmed at Lloyd’s on Dekalb Ave, where Andrea & Mud regularly perform.

Photo by Chandler Galloway.