Local Wire

Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires @ Last Exit Live

Lee Bains III is a white, Christian Southerner and, yes, knows exactly how that reads. Over the course of the 10 tracks on Dereconstructed, his sophomore album with his band the Glory Fires, he chews on and wrestles with the idea of Southern identity, reflecting on a place where segregation festered while Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals musically broke down the barriers between black and white. "We were raised on ancient truths and ugly old lies," Bains sings on the title track, twang thick in his voice. Cut live in a friend's basement by punk iconoclast Tim Kerr and pressed to wax by venerable indie label Sub Pop, it's a greasy and amplified record, Southern rock by geographical definitions and sound. Tangled in kudzu and conflicted, Bains attempts to explore a complicated South, trying to make sense of culture, religion, justice, and race in America. Bains doesn't pretend to speak for anyone other than himself, but he forcefully challenges the idea that the American South is any one thing. "[Any time] a culture establishes a sort of singular identity or narrative, or takes on one, it can be really destructive and very misleading," Bains says. With Deconstructed, Bains attempts to reconcile faith, history, and tradition the best way he knows how: He cranks up the guitars and howls.