Dust bowl soul brothers Pete Krebs (ex-Hazel singer/songwriter) and Danny Barnes (ex-Bad Livers frontman) have joined their God fearing and mother loving heads together to produce their first born collaboration. A valiant attempt to massage some life into a timeworn and neglected tradition. If you are in need of some musical reference points we are headed somewhere in or around the vicinity of country, bluegrass and folk music. They aren’t for claiming any new territories, they’re here to remind you of what already remains; comfortably threading themselves through the weave of this country’s musical heritage, and in the process, redeeming your sorry souls through its healing power.
The album itself was recorded in Barnes’ one room studio so don’t expect any razzle-dazzle in the overall production, be prepared to accept a clear linear transference of the unadulterated. This consists of 12 tracks with both artists alternating between songs that they each wrote and sang, some performed with a respectful purity, others laced with a mockery of the hoedown lifestyle. They take aboard a few traditional arrangements but it’s mainly a showcase for their own talents—most notably the opening track “Worry ‘Bout Yesterday”. Another stand out is the top shelf rendition of the Bad Livers song “Shot Me a Bird, Hit Me a Stump” in which Barnes’ rouseristic and mighty banjer pickin’ creates some fine toe-tappin’ splendor. As for the down side, the album as a whole just doesn’t have the sufficient amount of pay-off to make it a regular on your darling stereo. It feels like the sum of its parts do not add up enough to own the imperceptible quality that separates shruggery from interest. It’ll quickly work its way to the back of your stack, to be pulled out every once in a while, without making it to the front again
As a whole the album delivers a respectful nod to its influences, but is too much of a lover rather than a fighter. What we hear are two guys drinking their wine, spo-dee-o-dee, and having a good time amongst themselves. It is blatantly apparent that both musicians have got acres of talent to spare and hoard and yet this album never really takes off for its maiden flight, maybe next time around.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. We need your help to keep PopMatters strong and growing. Thank you.
"PopMatters (est. 1999) is a respected source for smart long-form reading on a wide range of topics in culture. PopMatters serves as…READ the article