It’s a time-honored tradition: the life-on-the-road sophomore album. And with the title of Watch America Roll By, J.B. Beverley and the Wayward Drifters willingly stand by tradition on Album Number Two; fortunately, Beverley’s worldview is broader than that of his tour van. Guitarist Beverley (ex-Murder Junkies!) and the Drifters (banjo/dobro/mandolinist Dan Mazer and upright bassist Johnny Lawless) may be all over the literal map—hitting the highway on jaunty opener “Interstate Blues”, hanging out with a hobo on “Gonna Ride a Train”, and making like Reverend Horton Heat’s kid brother on “Drug Train”—but these peripatetic souls know exactly how they want to get wherever it is they’re going: with plenty of old-school fiddle-and-banjo-soaked honky tonk. Too, the band tosses out the requisite shout-outs to their country forebears Messrs Cash and Williams Sr. either explicitly, as on the title track, or implicitly (“They’ll Only Play My Music When I’m Dead”), as any respectful country band should. Of course, the band pulls off the highway long enough to flip the bird to some women who’ve done Beverley wrong—“I Don’t Give A Damn” (“I’d chop off every finger I got / If it keeps me safe from you”... though presumably he’s keeping one finger intact) and “Thank You For Giving Me The Blues”, before putting the rubber back on the road, cackling all the way. Thank goodness someone remembered that roadtrips are supposed to be fun.
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// Notes from the Road
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