Local Wire

Asylum Street Spankers

It's not uncommon for formerly wicked musicians to foreswear their evil ways and turn to the Heavenly Father for inspiration. Dylan did it, as did MC Hammer, former Korn member Brian "Head" Welch, and the late New York Dolls bassist Arthur Kane. So does the fact that the Asylum Street Spankers named their latest disc God's Favorite Band mean that the Austin folk/blues/roots ensemble is walking the same path hand in hand with Jesus? Not quite. In similar fashion to how they've humorously filtered and re-interpreted modern songs in old-timey fashion, the seven-piece has chosen to take on Gospel and old spirituals. Standards such as Blind Willie Johnson's "Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground" and the Soul Stirrers' "Last Mile of the Way" get an irreverent update by the Spankers. Wonder what God thinks? He's quite the tough critic.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.