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Two Dollar Pistols
Hands Up!
YepRoc Records
www.twodollarpistols.com


Rare is the alt-country album that is more country than alt these days, but Two Dollar Pistols newest release is chock full of heady country music… Not the kind that "country" radio plays, but the kind my granddad listened to on the transistor radio out in the barn. This album makes me yearn for the simpler days of cleaning stalls and sitting on fences, watching as the sun set low over the Rockies. Songs full of honky-tonk heartbreak, twanging lead guitars, and soulful high lonesome vocals make up this near perfect collection of vintage flavored gems.

Hands Up! begins with "Too Bad That You're Gone", which is a perfect set-up for what you're going to find while listening to the rest of the record. Get the modern leads out of the way while letting the listener know that these songs are about lost love and longing. John Howie Jr.'s voice is a deep and rich baritone, reminiscent of Dwight Yoakam at times, and contains much the same strength and flavor that Mark Miller (Sawyer Brown) has always maintained in his vocal style. "Runnin' With The Fools" is laced with excellent pedal steel licks and swinging Nashville rhythms. The twang comes out in full force on "Lonely All Alone", a rockabilly song which would be a track right at home on any great record from someone like John Hiatt or Buck Owens. That guitar playing would make James Burton proud. No real country album is complete without a whiskey soaked drinking song, and that's exactly what the Pistols serve up on "Without Goodbye". "It's a good thing that you don't still dream about me/ it's a good thing that I don't still cry/ I'm so glad that we both found the same word to speak/ where would we be without goodbye?/ In a world filled with winners/ some would say we have lost/ but hindsight should open their eyes… where would we be without goodbye?" And don't forget that killer steel solo! Whoooooa dog!

There is plenty of Bakersfield on this record for those that dig the twang of Buck Owens, but Two Dollar Pistols balance it perfectly with the countrypolitan smoothness of Nashville. Not bad for a group of cowboys from North Carolina. Rich production (courtesy of Brian Paulson) and excellent songwriting, accompanied by incredible playing, adds up to one fine damn record. I can't get it out of my player.

-David DeVoe


Track Listing:

1. Too Bad That You're Gone
2. Runnin' With The Fools
3. There Goes My Baby
4. Without Goodbye
5. Hands Up!
6. Lonely All Alone
7. Don't Start Me Wonderin'
8. How's Life (On Top Of The World)
9. It Doesn't Matter Much To Me
10. Like You Did
11. It's All Fun And Games (Til Someone breaks A Heart)


 

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Mike Doughty



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