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
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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