Friday, September 28, 2012

Country Briefs

Shit Kickin'

I grew up in a rural area in northeast Nebraska. As such, I was exposed to a lot of what was presented as country music. In truth, it was just pop music with affectations of country. As I got older, I discovered the legend of Johnny Cash, and realized there must be more to the genre.

My country exploration has been generally timid. I've listened to some Hank Williams III, but I've found that I like the idea of Hank 3 more than the reality. Thankfully, there's more country to appeal to metalheads than just Hank and Johnny.

Bob Wayne: Outlaw Carnie (2011)
3.5 out of 5 stars

Of the records in this post, this is easily the closest to what you might think of when you think about Hank 3 or country music. In a way, it's really quite fitting that Bob Wayne's Outlaw Carnie is on Century Media. It's dumb and straight-forward, with an attitude. Like the great Cash (who gets mentioned on "Ghost Town"), it's a lot about storytelling. But the stories are worth listening to, even if (like me) you're not usually interested in lyrics.

Buy Outlaw Carnie

O'Death: Broken Hymns, Limbs and Skin (2008)
4 out of 5 stars

Presumably the band of Chuck Schuldiner's Irish cousin, O'Death perfectly embodies the idea of Hank 3 that I had in my head before I heard him. It's an energetic and eccentric blend of country, folk, Acid Bath, and Primus. It actually incorporates some metal influence, much moreso than Hank does. It also drops his tough-guy, outlaw mentality. The result is an extremely compelling and extremely catchy sort of fiddle-thrash.

Buy Broken Hymns Limbs & Skin

Townes Van Zandt: Delta Momma Blues (1971)
2 out of 5 stars

I was first introduced to Townes Van Zandt with the fantastic split tribute album released on Neurot, so I decided to check out some of his original work. The last two cuts on here were covered on that other record, and the originals are also fantastic examples of dark folk. "Rake" also gets subtle classical backing. The rest of the record is much weaker, however. Some of it is pure blues (see "Brand New Companion"), other songs are stereotypical old-school country (see "Turnstyled, Junkpiled"), but none of them stand out as anything real strong. From what I've read, he didn't get really great until a few years after this one.

Buy Delta Momma Blues


  1. I get what you are saying about the idea of Hank III. However, I am a big fan of his second LP: Lovesick, Broke and Driftin'. Have you heard that one? I remember when Assjack finally hit record stores. I went to my local record store and had a quick listen. It was fuckin' awful. It sounded like overproduced mall punk. I did not leave the store with that in hand.

    Acid Bath sells me, but Primus does not. What do I do? O'Death is a great name for a band as it reminds of the old negro hymn. Remember that rendition on the Oh Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack? Fuckin' awesome!!!

    Speaking of Townes van Zandt and the Coen Brothers, have you heard his rendition of The Stones' 'Dead Flowers' on 'The Big Lebowski' soundtrack? Bad ass!

    Ever heard of The Supersuckers? They put out an awesome country album called 'Mus've Been High'. They even had Willie Nelson literally phone in a vocal. Great record!

  2. I came on board with Hank 3 way late in the game, so I've only heard his 2010 and later releases. I'll have to check that one out. I didn't like Attention Deficit Domination AT ALL, and my sampling of 3 Bar Cattle Ranch Callin' turned me away from that pretty quickly. I actually like Assjack, though.

    You should check out O'Death. I think you'll like it.

    I will definitely have to get that OBWAT soundtrack. I forgot about that one. Have to check out the others you mention too.

  3. Country music is a fickle beast. There is a lot to love but so much more to hate. I stick with the tried and true...Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Tanya Tucker, Kris Kristofferson, etc.

    I call myself a fan of Hank III but he can be pretty hit and miss. Most of his albums, with the exception of ‘Lovesick...’ and ‘Straight to Hell’, are pretty inconsistent and feature a plethora of shitty songs that include elemts of the aforementioned “mall rock”. That said, when he is in form it is great. I avoid anything Assjack related like the plague and I have kind of lost track of where he is at right now. ‘Rebel Within’ is the last album I have of his and that came out in 2010.