Cowboy Mouth ‘Open Wide’ Review

Cameron Slate, Contributing Writer

With a discography spanning 28 years and a place already secured in the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, Cowboy Mouth enters 2020 with no sign of stopping or coming close to slowing down. The New Orleans based rockers are set to release new EP “Open Wideon March 27, and it’s full of the charm and energy that are hallmarks of Cowboy Mouth’s style.

Born from New Orleans’ post-punk scene in the late ’80s, Cowboy Mouth has seen an ever-changing line-up of musicians while retaining drummer and lead vocalist Fred LeBlanc and guitarist and vocalist John Thomas Griffith. The band formed in 1990, and their first studio album “Word of Mouth” was released in 1992. The band would find mainstream success with the release of 1996’s “Are You With Me?” including one of their most well-known songs, “Jenny Says,” which originally appeared on “Word of Mouth” but was boosted the second time around by a major record label backing.

The new EP “Open Wide” begins with the jangly, heartfelt number “Last Sad Song,” showcasing LeBlanc’s enduring vocal prowess. The country-inspired opener helps to warm up for the following track, “King of the World,” a jaunty, guitar-driven song with a strong backbeat and chugging riffs. “Kiss the Baby” follows, a lighthearted lament of the troubles of getting through the daily routine, framed by crashing cymbals, wailing guitars and a catchy, melodic chorus. Cowboy Mouth pays further homage to its country influences with a cover of John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy,” reinvigorating a classic with the signature punk rock spirit and energy that has electrified venues in Louisiana and the world over. The penultimate track “Oh Toulouse” is a driving ballad told from the point of view of post-impressionist painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Built on a funky, distorted guitar riff, abundant references to classics of literature and art and a rhythm that demands to be danced to, the scene is staged for the crown jewel of the EP, “Jenny Says (Jenny 20).” The hallmark classic is reimagined and reinvigorated for the 21st century, with all the same verve and vivacity of the original. The recording is crisp and clear, with guitars roaring over a pounding drumbeat and vocals that ache with heartfelt emotion. 

Cowboy Mouth has a long history behind them, filled with hits and achievements that they could easily rest their laurels on. But with “Open Wide,” the band proves they have an equally long future ahead of them. The classic sound and energy are still there, and with imagination and innovation in tow, Cowboy Mouth is set to shred for years to come.