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Trainwreck Riders

Lonely Road Revival

(Alive Records; US: 6 Aug 2006; UK: Available as import)

In case you haven’t heard: there’s a bit of a countrified insurgency going on out in San Francisco. Just when you thought the last vestiges of alt-country had died, along come a bunch of well-to-do white kids with a love for a music they don’t really have any right to claim as their own. Fortunately, they’re young enough not to give a shit. At the front of this mini-resurgence in the Bay Area are Trainwreck Riders and Two Gallants. While Two Gallants have ventured down an increasingly obtuse path that seems pointed towards something akin to the revivalism of 16 Horsepower and Woven Hand, Trainwreck Riders have done the outlaw country tradition proud with Lonely Road Revival. The young men in Trainwreck Riders are equally adept with the weepy balladry of “Christmas Time Blues” and “To the Grave”, ragged around the edges excursions consisting of cracked vocals, acoustic guitar, and violin, as they are with rockers like “Old Timey Feeling” (Credence Clearwater Revival beaten to within an inch of its life) and “Your Sisters and Your Sisters’ Friends” (think Long Ryders and early Uncle Tupelo). If Lonely Road Revival doesn’t charm you by simple virtue of its energy and passion alone, you may be too far down the road of cynicism to be saved. But if you can still remember how great an imperfect country/rock record made by a band dripping with potential and energy can be, then Lonely Road Revival is a refreshing slap in the face.

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