Megan Jean and The Klay Family Band – The Devil Herself
Megan Jean is the Devil, and she wants to eat your soul. Her voice is that special kind of menacing, backed by a steady guttural beat that thump thump thumps like the march of the dead. It’s Americana, sure, but it’s more ghostly than it is patriotic, more haunting than it is folk. It’s wonderful and unique and damning and something that you absolutely have to listen to, right now.
On The Devil Herself, Megan Jean and The Klay Family Band conjure the spirits of dead with the help of banjos, an upright bass, a washboard, something called a “stompbox,” and some of the most impressive vocals you’ll ever hear. Ever. The album opens with “The Dead Show,” an aptly titled carnival tune. It paints the picture of Faust, some diabolic deal made with the Devil, doomed to fail, ultimately damned, but extremely fun to watch. It’s fun, but Megan Jean and The Klay Family Band is capable of more than just a good time.
There’s a legitimate temptation, when performing in a Southern Gothic/Americana group, to become a trope or an act or something inauthentic. Remember, Megan Jean is the Devil, and her music is nothing if not authentic. On “Skeletons,” Megan Jean sings “Only Jesus knows, it’s written on my bones.” It’s dark and complex, it’s layered, it’s the kind of lyrics that make you listen. It’s one of the best things about Megan Jean and The Klay Family Band, they’re not paying homage to a lost culture, no, they’re adding to it.
The Devil Herself ends with a song about the apocalypse, or the end of the world, or the rapture. Listen closely and you’ll notice a tinge of old time religion, as if Amanda Palmer had been raised in a Southern Baptist church. It’s arguably the most up-beat song on the album, interesting being that it’s title is “Last Days.” It fits, perfectly, with whatever it is that Megan Jean is trying to say in The Devil Herself. “These are the last days, and woe to me, I’m not afraid.” It’s that perfect mix of defiance and reverence that makes The Devil Herself such a universally appealing album.
If you haven’t figured, Megan Jean and The Klay Family Band is group that we all should be listening to. Go now, as fast as you can, and find a copy of The Devil Herself. It’s a deal with the Devil that you’ll be happy you made.
WORDKRAPHT Rating: Five Stars!
Album Name: The Devil Herself
Release Date: March, 2013
Location: Charleston, SC
Members: Megan Jean- vocals/guitar/stompbox/washboard queen, Byrne Klay – upright bass/banjo