Springfield, Missouri's Domino Kings ride back onto the
scene with what just may be the best modern country record since
their 2002 release, The Back Of Your Mind. That release
saw the departure of Kings' bassist Brian Capps, and the
addition of Jimmy Ginnings on guitar. Ginnings has since
left the band, but has songwriting credits for one track on the
new record. The real core of the Domino Kings remains Stevie
Newman, writing songs and twanging away on Telecasters, and
Les Gallier still pounding away on the skins. Interestingly
enough, Capps returns to help out with some upright bass on a
few tracks on this new disc as well. (He's also got his own solo
record out now on Hightone Records
look for a review soon)
Enough of that history/ line up stuff. The meat of the Domino
Kings' records has always been the earnest and brilliant music.
Tremelo guitars and high-energy kick the record off on title track
"Some Kind Of Sign". This track is exactly what the
faithful have come to depend on The Domino Kings for - classic
sounding, twanging, and real country music. Once more showing
their abilities at swing, the Kings give us the Ginnings' penned
"Walk Away If You Want To", a track that could have
just as easily been recorded in 1962 and made a hit on the country
charts. "Pain In My Past" shuffles right into the cerebral
cortex, creating an instant need to tap the foot and shake the
booty. Moving into a bit more of an acoustic porch-music feel,
Les Gallier wrote and sings "Don't Want To Do That Again".
The track is a humorous and light romp, ably demonstrating the
virtuosity of the Kings in a softer, less rocking format
and it's just plain fun. Invoking the spirit of border country
(and Freddie Fender) on "It's All Over But The Crying",
Newman and company produce some of the finest twang and drawl
that has been recorded since the glory days of the X.
The Domino Kings have a hit on their hands with "Lying
Next To Me". The song is all jangling guitars, tightly
knit drumming, brilliant melody and impressive vocal harmonies.
The rockabilly goodness jumps right out of the speakers on "You
Tear Me Up", featuring some excellent guitar work and energetic
bop. In striking contrast, the Kings have kept the dirgey melancholy
song for last, and wrap the album up with "Bridges I've
Burned". Utilizing the themes of prison, death and loss,
the song runs a close sequel to "Outlaw's Song" not
only in subject matter, but in dark musicality and feel.
Some Kind Of Sign is proof positive that Stevie Newman
is one of today's finest writers of real, true country music.
I would certainly stack his songs right next to the greats like
Dale Watson and Dwight Yoakam, both for heart as
well as for musical vision. So if you like great country music,
but have yet to discover the Domino Kings, get off yer porch and
give them a listen!
1. Some Kind Of Sign
2. Walk Away If You Want To
3. A Million Miles From Here
4. Pain In My Past
5. Dark Side Of The Moon
6. Don't Want To Do That Again
7. It's All Over But The Crying
8. Lying Next To Me
9. Every Night About This Time
10. You Tear Me Up
11. Bridges I've Burned
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