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Bill Kirchen
Hammer Of The Honky-Tonk Gods
Proper Records

Any good rockabilly knows without a doubt that Bill Kirchen is the undisputed king of dieselbilly rock… What some may not know is that he has a heart, golden with country roots, that perfectly accents his amazing telecaster virtuosity. On his newest release, Hammer Of The Honky-Tonk Gods, Kirchen struts not only his amazing twang, but some of his finest songwriting. Joined by an all star cast of musicians, including Nick Lowe (who co-produced as well) on bass guitar and Robert Trehern on drums, this album truly cements Kirchen's place among the elite of real country musicians.

The opening track "Hammer Of The Honky-Tonk Gods" is a barn-burning tribute to the greatest guitar ever built, Fender's Telecaster and its designer, Leo Fender. Kirchen rips through some great leads on his own '54 Tele, the same guitar that he played back with Commander Cody And His Lost Planet Airmen on the classic "Hot Rod Lincoln". The guitar still packs a punch, and Bill is sounding better than ever. On "Rocks Into Sand", Kirchen evokes the slow balladry of the most heart-breaking of 60's country gems. The blazing steel guitar on "Get A Little Goner" gives the song a fine country edge, while featuring the kind of brilliantly witty lyricism for which Bill has come to be known alongside his great guitar playing. "If you're gonna get gone, get a little goner/ if you're gonna move along, move on a little bit longer/ you think I want you back, you couldn't be wronger/ go on, get a little goner." Accompanying the tongue in cheek lyrics are some of the finest lead guitar parts and comping to be found in modern rock/country.

"Working Man" recalls the golden era of country, having a sincere Johnny Cash bent to the music and lyrics, along with some fine tremolo-heavy twanging. "Soul Cruisin'" evokes the spirit of Motown and infuses Bill's country sound with a soulful edge that outdoes most modern soul performers. The track has all the makings of a fine old Sam Cooke recording, only with Bill singing. Gospel tinges and beautiful piano and harmony vocals play into the sublime "Truth Be Told", which leads perfectly into a bluesy/Motown rendition of the classic "Devil With The Blue Dress". Kirchen finally lights into Texas swing with "One More Day", a bouncing tale of life's beauty set to the tune of hopping piano and brilliant acoustic blues guitar leads. "Heart Of Gold" gets back to the swampy twang thing with a great rockabilly edge and an excellent guitar solo - not for the twang-haters - and 50's style piano fire. The album wraps with the soulful and melancholy "If It's Really Got To Be This Way", drawing from and juxtaposing all the various styles of the record into a heartfelt and beautiful swinging country blues number that could bring a tear to eye.

On Hammer Of The Honky-Tonk Gods, Bill Kirchen has not only built upon his country foundations to prove once again his worth in that particular field, but he has expanded his sound to include more soul elements and much more personal lyrical content. While there is no disputing that Kirchen is the king of dieselbilly rock, there is also a depth to the man that shines through on these songs, really highlighting the fact that the man is a fine songwriter who ranks among the modern world's best.

-Embo Blake

Track Listing:
1. Hammer Of The Honky-Tonk Gods
2. Rocks Into Sand
3. Get A Little Goner
4. Skid Row In My Mind
5. Working Man
6. Soul Cruisin'
7. Truth Be Told
8. Devil With The Blue Dress
9. One More Day
10. Heart Of Gold
11. If It's Really Got To Be This Way

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