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“Skunks Misery Road” by Gideon King & City Blog

Fusion influences, soul themes, and a brooding lead vocal from Ashley Hess come together to make a pure jam in “Skunks Misery Road,” a seductive number from Gideon King & City Blog that is generating a lot of interest in the music of its dynamic guitarist right now. “Skunks Misery Road” is stylish and brilliantly oscillating in its plodding percussive pattern. It doesn’t take more than a cursory listen to understand why King has become one of the most respected players in his scene and why his work is getting more attention in 2023, a year that has been dominated by eclecticisms and poetic experimentalists from one end of the spectrum to the next. ”Skunks Misery Road” will be featured on the band’s upcoming EP, ‘Splinters.’

The subtlety of rhythm is everything in “Skunks Misery Road,” and I think you could make the argument that the beats tell more of a story than simple lyrics ever could. The timbre of Hess’ vocal is warm and rich with a humanizing vulnerability, and though it’s no more textured an element than the bassline is, I don’t know that the hook in the chorus would be nearly as tantalizing were it sung by someone else. This is downright iconic, and for those who have never had the pleasure of exploring Gideon King’s discography of A-grade arrangements, it’s a great jumping-off point in getting to know the musical magic that is his collective works. If the groove in this composition doesn’t captivate you, I don’t know what else would or even could.

The EQ on the backing band is somewhat skewed in the style of a rock rhythm section, and I think that it makes the instrumental melodies all the more muscular than they already would have been. Physicality is a key component of Gideon King’s sound, and with the assistance of City Blog, he’s able to give us the full scope of his abilities in this single without overwhelming us with overdrive or bloated bass parts. He’s one of the more adept composers in the New York scene, and his conservative attitude towards the construction of a bittersweet harmony in this song is tangible evidence of his immense skill set. The emerging generation of fusion players could learn something from him.

“Skunks Misery Road” is absolutely one of the better gems I’ve heard lately and a must-listen for anyone who is crazy about alternative fusion right now. There are a lot of artists in the aforementioned genres that have been trying to make music in the style of this single over the last few years, and though some have been content to chase after a throwback sound, others like Gideon King have never stopped evolving, and thus, have never looked back for a second. This is a songwriter who doesn’t have time for recycling the past, mostly because he’s too busy crafting the melodies of the future, all while living in the moment that is today. Gideon King &  City Blog have my full attention for every second of this performance, and something tells me that those who give it a spin this September will feel the same.

Mindy McCall



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