CD Review – Run 8 Rider “Tenderfoot”
If the title is familiar, it’s because it should be. However, that doesn’t mean Run 8 Rider’s version of Devo’s iconic 1980 New Wave smash “Whip It” sounds anything like the original. Run 8 Rider give the herky-jerky punk-funk of Devo’s classic a country-fried makeover. Gone are the choked-up nerdy vocals and robotic throb that ushered in the Rock of the ‘80s, replaced by raspy Southern-boy harmonizing and pedal steel guitar. In other words, it’s a total laugh riot, a blast of wit and charm that immediately lightens up an Americana music scene that is becoming way too serious.
Devo aren’t the only ‘80s staples that are given a roots-rock facelift on Run 8 Rider’s consistently engaging new album Tenderfoot. Perhaps even more shocking than their deconstruction of Devo is their rendition of George Michael’s 1987 hit “Faith,” which becomes a Gospel-tinged number and making everyone notice the spiritual connection behind the song’s name. In other words, Run 8 Rider aren’t delivering parodies with these tracks; rather, they’re offering different interpretations of them while capturing their initial spirit. For example, the group’s version of Oasis’ 1995 ballad “Wonderwall” transforms the song’s Brit-pop roots upside down, giving it a Nashville sheen; nevertheless, its warm sentiments still shine brightly.
Because of the novelty of Run 8 Rider’s remakes, they’re the ones to reel in the most attention; even the band probably recognizes this, which explains why they selected “Whip It” as their debut music video. But the group’s songwriting itself has timeless appeal. “Lucinda” is authentic vintage country without any contemporary gloss, and “The Ballad of Marshal Smith” is ragged, electrifying backwoods rock. Run 8 Rider juggle a myriad of diverse stylistic inspirations on Tenderfoot and roar full steam ahead.