Whiskey & Co. release latest album “Rust Colors” on No Idea Records
Gainesville, Florida’s country quintet Whiskey & Co. are just one of the handful of roots-based bands that have joined the No Idea Records roster over the course of the past few years. As a label that is known for working primarily with punk bands, it’s nice to see No Idea branching out to bring us such bands and singer/songwriters. The first indication that No Idea was widening its musical scope to bring such artists into the fold was with Rumbleseat, the alt-country and folk punk side project of Hot Water Music’s Chuck Ragan and Chris Wallord, together with bassist and vocalist Samantha Jones. That was back in the late ’90s. Since then, the label has worked with This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb, Defiance Ohio, Ghost Mice, Paul Baribeau, Against Me!, Chuck Ragan, and of course Whiskey & Co. And there are undoubtedly more on the not too distant horizon, treading water in the seemingly endless sea of independent and underground bands and singer/songwriters, waiting for No Idea Records to take notice and pull them aboard.
Whiskey & Co. have only just released an album titled “Rust Colors,” which makes their third on No Idea Records since 2003. With eleven new songs in the classic country and raw Americana sound for which they’ve become known throughout the years, Whiskey & Co. are in the midst of proving that they are here to stay.
What many don’t realize is that these Southern country guys and gal started out in punk bands like Burnman and Assholeparade, which is a huge leap from their Whiskey & Co. sound, let’s be honest. The members are Kim Helm (vocals), Brian Johnson (guitar and vocals), Ronnie Holmes (guitar), Jon Reinertsen (drums), and Troy Perlman (bass).
What Whiskey & Co. have done is rather similar to what a few other punk artists have done, like the already mentioned Rumbleseat project, and some of the lads from Canada’s The Sainte Catherines when they put together a country and hillbilly punk side project called Yesterday’s Ring. But these two styles of music have a strong connection that some don’t realize. After all, if it weren’t for roots music, punk rock wouldn’t exist today in any of its forms. You know, the pioneers of punk, back when it was more of a specific set of ideals and not so much based a particular sound or fashion trends, before the word “punk” existed in its present context, with artists such as Woody Guthrie, Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan, and the like.
Whiskey & Co’s sound is a marriage of old “outlaw country,” “Americana” and “punk,” sort of like the Grand Ole Opry meets CBGB’s, as evidenced by all three of their releases to date. Those albums are their debut self-titled release, their second “Leaving the Nightlife,” and their latest “Rust Colors.” And while all three are collections of well-composed country-fied songs, “Rust Colors” may just be their best album so far, with songs like the opener “Top Poppin’,” the title track “Rust Colors,” and some of the tunes further down on the list such as “Road to Nowhere,” “Rest Stop,” and the great and final song “Long Way Down.”
If you prefer your country music a bit on the margins — which is to say removed from the mainstream pop country that has been an ugly blemish on the face of the genre in recent years — Whiskey & Co. are probably one of the bands for you.