Review: Outlaw Radio Compilation, vol. 1
As many of you may know, I have recently been advocating for a new music movement called “XXX”. There have been a few naysayers both here and elsewhere around the web, but I am of the opinion that we have already achieved a lot of good. I would like to think, for example, that at least a few of the 1,200-plus who have signed the petition in the past few weeks have discovered a band or two on our list that they hadn’t heard previously. Even more importantly, we have gained some friends and fellow allies in the fight against Nashville pop over at Saving Country Music.
For at least the past year and a half, I have occasionally read and admired Saving Country Music and always respected The Triggerman’s devotion to his cause even when I didn’t always agree with him. However, it wasn’t until the past few weeks, after SCM covered XXX, that I realized the full extent of the site’s work. In addition to the great blogs, there are also several live internet radio programs streamed on the site every Wednesday and Friday evening, one of which is Jashie P.’s Outlaw Radio Chicago. After getting in touch with Jashie to do some brainstorming on the XXX thing, he was kind enough to send me both the Outlaw Radio compilation album and an upcoming EP from his own band.
I will be sure to tell you about his band Last False Hope sometime in the coming weeks, but for now I’ll stick with the compilation, which contains a stunning 22 tracks from various underground country artists, all of them exclusive to this album. While some artists, such as Lucky Tubb, Those Poor Bastards, Joe Buck, and Roger Alan Wade, will be familiar to many No Depression readers the great thing about this type of collection is discovering new artists and the lesser known performers here range from guys I have actually met to artists I had never even heard of until hearing this album.
The record kicks off with the Dad Horse Experience, a band from Belgium that expertly blend country and rock tradition before moving on to Ol’ Red Shed’s “Another Round,” which may be among the best country tunes I’ve heard in years. Next up is Black Eyed Vermillion’s Tom Waits-inspired “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” and Bob Wayne’s old-school honky-tonk.
It’s hard to follow an opening round of songs like that, but this album manages by placing newcomers like Rachel Brooke alongside seasoned veterans such as Ted Russell Kamp. This is the type of album that leaves you guessing and on any given track, you are likely to hear Pogues-inspired hardcore bluegrass (Last False Hope), classic rockabilly (Izzy & the Kesstronics), old school Southern rock (Dave Smith & the Country Rebels), and even a folk song or two.
Is this the second coming of Wanted: The Outlaws? No, it isn’t, but why should we expect it to be? We’ve already heard that album and heard Willie and Waylon and the boys inject country with a large dose of rock and roll attitude. Now it’s time for a new generation, most of whom grew up in the punk and metal scenes, to have their swing at the corporate Nashville establishment and bring something new and exciting to the table while also embracing the deep roots and traditions of country music. I, for one, will be supporting them every step of the way.