By: Jeremy Fleischer
****3 out of 5 stars****
The Subdudes’ collection of music, which spans 10 albums and nearly three decades, is a gumbo of American roots music. In fact, if someone were teaching a class on American music, they could just reference the catalogue, finding rock, gospel, country soul, New Orleans R&B, and Zydeco. This makes sense: The band was formed in New Orleans, birthplace of jazz, and now is split between The Big Easy and Fort Collins. Few in the Fort truly recognize the significance of this band, but now they may have a chance.
The Subdudes recently released 4 on the Floor, a reference to car stick shifts on the floor but here a reference to the ‘dudes recent habit of coming down from the stage onto the floor with the audience at shows. This album is a collection of some of the most intimate, campfire-worthy songs played around a single mic. The intention is to recreate the audience-as-band member feel of the floor shows, and it succeeds. The harmonies welcome listeners to find a place for their own voice, the live feel adds an unpolished spontaneity, and the direct lyrics about struggle and hope hit the heart. At times, they add clapping to the mix, but it’s unnecessary: if you feel it, it’s likely you’re already clapping. 4 on the Floor is barroom gospel from masters of American music.