Louisiana musicians often blend zealous religious lyrics with the most raucous, rowdy accompaniment. From Ferriday’s rocking Jerry Lee Lewis and his preacher cousin Jimmy Swaggart, to the funky gospel guitarists Elder Utah Smith of New Orleans, and Reverend Charlie Jackson, of Baton Rouge, to name but a few, Louisiana music has long straddled that fine line between Saturday night blow-outs and Sunday morning reflection. The latest band to joyously explore this passionate roots-music border zone is the Lafayette-based Mercy Brothers — as heard on their exuberant debut CD Holy Ghost Power!, on Louisiana Red Hot Records in the US and Rootsy in Europe.
Formed in 2011, the Mercy Brothers blend the spiritual fervor of an old-time tent revival with the rambunctious feel of a rural roadhouse — combining the best elements of celestial and honky-tonk heaven. This unique holy hubbub hybrid, and a reputation for electrifying live shows that inspire impassioned sing-alongs, has won the band a loyal — dare we day devout — following.
In 2012 they tore it up at both the Festival International de Louisiane and Festivals Acadiens et Créole in Lafayette, and at New Orleans’ coolest new club, Chickie Wah-Wah, garnering glowing press from the Times of Acadiana and the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and starting a buzz in music circles around the nation.
“…Gospel music you can dance to in a nightclub on a Saturday night or be saved by in a revival tent on Sunday morning.” – John Conquest, 3rd Cost Music
“…Never mind whether it is Jesus or the devil who has the upper hand: in the end The Mercy Brothers win.” – Rune Heron, rootsy.nu (Sweden)
“…These make-believe ministers played and sang music that sounded like Jimmy Swaggart on a Sunday morning but was wild as Jerry Lee Lewis celebrating his sixth divorce.” – Herman Fuselier, Offbeat Magazine
“The Mercy Brothers traffic in ‘hillbilly gospel,’ a synthesis of old-time honky tonk swagger and revival tent spirit.” – Keith Spera, Times-Picayune
“The only thing missing at a Mercy Brothers’ gig is the revival tent. Then again, it’s still early.” – Dominick Cross, The Independent
“…It’s obvious this isn’t your average redneck tent revival fare.” – Rick Oliver, Offbeat Magazine
“…Hillbilly gospel – traditional, ironic and post-modern – right on the line between celebration and satire.” – Alex Rawls, myspiltmilk.com
“Somewhere in that nether realm between sodden Saturday nights and sacred Sunday mornings live the Mercy Brothers… Never a dull moment with these boys, can we get an amen?” – Walter Pierce, The Independent
“…One of the most entertaining bands I’ve seen in years.” – Johan Bergdahl, O¨rebro Guiden (Sweden)
Visit the Mercy Brothers’ Facebook page here.