First, credit to Trigger and Saving Country Music for advising us all to “don’t resist, just give in” to this group. Well, it’s taken me a couple weeks and a few listens, but I keep coming back, and this album keeps getting better, so I can say now I’ve given in, and it’s time to talk about this. Secondly, no this is not country; SCM said it was country in places but “only by accident,” the leader of the group, Kevin Russell, calls this “country soul” and “swamp funk,” and Apple Music labeled it traditional folk. I’d probably call it zydeco–which I learned in New Orleans at Jazz fest is Cajun music–with heavy soul influence and a smattering of country thrown in. Regardless, it’s good American roots music, and I hate that I haven’t discovered shinyribs sooner, especially since they’ve been embraced by the Texas scene despite their Louisiana sound. This might seem strange on the surface, but Texas and Red dirt fans generally embrace all kinds of live music,, and that’s where shinyribs excels. During my brief acquaintance with them, I’ve learned that they are known, among other things, for having conga lines at their shows. There is difficulty sometimes in translating all that live energy into an album, but I Got Your Medicine does exactly that, and it’s a refreshing, fun listen.
In the opener and title track, Kevin Russell is talking to someone who seems to be rather depressed with their life and he says, “I got your medicine.” I think it’s an appropriate opener and album title because that’s what this record is; it’s a breath of fresh air, a break from all of life’s worries. Much of this album is just fun and catchy. The instrumentation is fantastic; you’ll hear saxophones, trumpets, flutes, keyboards, and real drums. The awesome instrumentation and Russell’s incredible charisma really sell tracks like “Trouble, Trouble” and “Don’t Leave it a Lie.” There’s “Tub Gut Stomp ‘n’ Red-eyed Soul,” and no, I have no idea what that title or any of the song means, but I love it. It just puts a smile on your face. There’s ‘a certain Girl,” where Russell is trying in vain to get a girl to notice him, but he won’t tell us her name. Speaking of the real drums I mentioned, they’re excellent in this one. “Hands on Your Hips” has to be one of the most fun cheating songs ever; here, the narrator has caught his girlfriend with another man’s “foot on your lips.” I have to give Shinyribs credit for shattering the glass ceiling and introducing foot worship to country music. Then there’s “I Don’t Give a S**t,” where the characters sing about being a “match made in hell,” but deep down, they really care about each other. The group even makes faith lighthearted with the album closer, “The cross is Boss.”
But mixed in with the fun tracks, and making them stand out all the more, you get hit with serious moments. “I Knew it All Along” is an excellent heartbreak song, displaying Kevin Russell’s strength both as a songwriter and as a vocalist. “Nothing Takes the Place of You” is another serious song pulled off well by the group. Then there’s “I Gave up All I Had,” featuring their signature lighthearted instrumentation but telling a story of a man who gave up the love of a woman and four children for someone, or something, else, and now he is regretting it with all his being.
The only thing I can really say against this album is the song “Ambulance” takes the fun one step too far. This song is just ridiculous, at least for me. The narrator here wakes up in an ambulance and speculates on all the things that could have put him here. For me, this is honestly the only thing that brings the album down to a nine.
Not everyone is going to get behind this album, but it’s definitely something you should all give a chance. It’s a fun record that can just brighten up your day. If you’re a fan of soul, or good, live-sounding music, you should check this out. Give it a couple listens, and you’ll be giving in to Shinyribs just like I did.