Home Read Classic Album Review: The Gourds | Bolsa de Agua

Classic Album Review: The Gourds | Bolsa de Agua

The Austin roots-rockers sound like a whole slew of great bands on their fourth set.


This album came out a couple of decades ago. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Most bands like to pretend they’re unique, but the truth is, almost everybody sounds at least a little like somebody else. The more pertinent question is: Do they sound like anybody good?

In the case of Austin, Tex., roots-rockers The Gourds, it’s almost everybody good. On their fresh, freewheeling and earthy fourth album Bolsa de Agua (Bag of Water, or more colloquially, Water Balloon), this quintet remind you of a different beloved band nearly every tune. Sometimes, like on the Southern-gumbo groovers Receipts and Fevers and Hallelujah Shine, you’ll swear you’re listening to long-lost Band outtakes. Other times, like on the dreamy title track, you’ll hear Los Lobos. On loping alt-country tracks like Jesus Christ with Signs Following you’ll get Wilco flashbacks. And on catchy country-rockers like the anthemic El Paso, you might think you’re spinning a Texas Tornados disc — especially since one of the band’s three singers is a vocal ringer for Doug Sahm. Of the other two, one sounds like Levon Helm, while the other could be a Bruce Springsteen impersonator. Somehow they combine all this into their own unique sound. But even if they couldn’t, Bolsa de Agua would still be a treat.