• Review

Album Review: 500 Miles To Memphis Blessed Be The Damned

Way back in the year 2005, a local band named 500 Miles To Memphis released a self-titled album, which opened with some idyllic old-timey acoustic music and tranquil nature sounds devolving into chaos of guitars and machine guns, and in a way, the band can still be readily – and fairly accurately – summarized in that introduction. But even the most stalwart of bands can grow, and Blessed Be The Damned, the newest release from 500 MTM, shows they are no exception. Singer-songwriter/founder Ryan Malott, previously the sole songwriter in the band, instead this time cowrote with bassist Noah Sugarman, giving rise to an entire album, rather than a collection of songs.

Blessed continues a tradition of great records from a great band. It oozes with the power, swagger, and punch that 500 MTM has been known for since the early days. The opening strains of “The River,” with a reverberating gospel choir stomping and clapping, giving way to the familiar pounding rhythm section, loud guitars, and strong vocals, create the perfect mood for what’s to come. Following is “Bonnie,” a song combining all the best elements of Irish punk, but into a decidedly 500 MTM song. “I’m A Bastard” closes the album in grand style, an “epic divorce song” according to Malott.

Blessed has so many catchy songs, it’s easy to find yourself tapping your feet along with the groove instead of taking notes or writing a review, and nearly impossible to find a favorite. In short, if you like rock, you’ll like this album. The mean mountain riff of the title track, the 90s punk of “No Doubt About It,” the bluegrass-cum-cowpunk of “In My Chest” – the album is just good from front to back and might be 500 MTM’s best yet.


1)     The River

2)     Bonnie

3)     Hold On Tight

4)     I Said Babe

5)     Blessed Be The Damned

6)     No Doubt About It

7)     Piggie Boy

8)     In My Chest

9)     Save Me

10)  What A Waste

11)  I’m A Bastard