Dirty Guv'nahs Hit Their Stride on 'Youth Is in Our Blood'

The Dirty Guv'nahs

Youth Is in Our Blood

The Dirty Guv'nahs didn't hold anything back when they got the chance to record at Levon Helm's studio in Woodstock, N.Y., at the end of 2009. The resulting disc shows the band stretching to make something special, and, for the most part, getting there. On Youth Is in Our Blood, the Guv'nahs never stray too far from their Rolling Stones/Black Crowes comfort zone, but the influences are less explicit, especially on a set of folky country ballads ("The Country" and "Seeds on the Rise"). The production is cleaner and crisper here than on the band's two previous albums, and the Guv'nahs' chops have been upped considerably, thanks mostly to the addition of new guitarist Cozmo Holloway. (Singer James Trimble, too, is expanding his range to match his enthusiasm.) The only drawback is that the ambition on display sometimes squeezes the fun out—the album could use fewer heartfelt power ballads and more funky horn jams ("It's Dangerous") and loose country rockers ("Blue Rose Stroll").