Jimmy Bower didn’t earn the title of the “Godfather of Southern Metal” for nothing. The New Orleans native has spent the past 20 years melting faces as the axeman, drummer, and founding member of numerous seminal sludge acts, including Eyehategod, Crowbar, Down, and Superjoint Ritual; He’s also sat in with Corrosion of Conformity and the Mystick Krewe of Clearlight, among many others. Despite his associations with stoner metal, however, Bower’s really a country boy at heart. Chatting with Decibel in 2011, the Louisianan detailed his musical upbringing, seeped in lap steel and acoustic guitars. “It was pretty much country, man,” he recalled. “My dad listened to a lot of Willie Nelson, Hank Jr., David Allan Coe, Merle Haggard … ”

Americana has always been integral to Bower’s craft. His leaden guitar work is built on the cornerstones of blues and roots music, and his head-spinning fills reveal a lifetime of jazz listening. (Then again, what else would you expect from a musician who hails from a city world-renowned for its musical diversity?) This patchwork background forms the crux of the instrumentalist’s new solo venture, his most melodic work to date. The project’s pretty laid-back as of this writing, comprising an unassuming pair of songs: a swampy country song titled “Yesterday,” accompanied by the scuzzier jam “Idea,” in which Bower plugs in and zones out. With Crowbar gearing up to hit the road this fall ahead of their forthcoming album The Serpent Only Lies, it’s unclear when Bower’s solo debut will drop; for now, this double shot of “Bower Power” offers a change of pace, as well as an intimate glimpse into the heart of the Godfather.

Crowbar's latest record, The Serpent Only Lies, arrives October 28 via Entertainment One. Bower will be on tour with the band all autumn long.