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River City Tanlines - Coast to Coast - Big Legal Mess Records -  Taking their cues from 1970s punk, Runaways-influenced hard rock, and North Mississippi blues, the River City Tanlines formed from the ashes of several local bands in Memphis, TN. Singer/guitarist Alicja Trout - an established songwriter with ties to such Memphis-based groups as the Lost Sounds, Destruction Unit, Black Sunday, and Mouserocket - founded the trio in the early 2000s with help from bassist Terrence Bishop and drummer John Bonds, both of whom had previously played alongside Delta blues artists. The band’s synthesis of punky blues and garage rock found a devoted audience in Memphis, and the sound is Joan Jett meets Deborah Harry, but her guitar-playing puts her head above other female rockers. The punk-heavy sound hits me right where I live, and Alicja’s original songs are a fine mix of heart-felt feelings and angst. She writes a  song about lacking a rehearsal space with “Pretty Please” to the heart-pounding “When I Became You” with pumping drums and pounding guitar and the group seems to have their stuff together.  They use the punk formula of keeping the tunes brief, with a couple of exceptions. The pop sound of “Stop My Heart” takes a darker side when she cuts lose on guitar, and the first cut “I Don’t Get It” kicks things off with lots of stinging axe-licks, while “Can’t Stand U Anymore” moves faster , and “Can You Handle This Heart” kicks ass, moving us to the finale with a laid-back start on “Waiting For Nothing” that hits a higher gear for the finish. This moves fast and covers a lot of good sounds, highly recommended! Find out more about them at www.rivercitytanlines.com.

 

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The Stone Coyotes - A Wild Bird Flying  - Red Cat Records – Our favorite rockers are on the way to Texas this week for two shows at Dosey Doe, and as usual are having a CD release party there. As one of the “chosen few” we have an advance copy of their new CD and it just keeps getting better all the time. Composed of singer/guitarist Barbara Keith, husband Doug Tibbles on drums and son John Tibbles on bass, these three make more music than a ten-piece band and it’s all good. They come from western Massachusetts but have earned a large following in our area, first coming in 2000 and now have a solid fan base here. All songs this time are originals. 

The title cut weaves one of Barbs’ tales of looking death in the face and reliving your life while walking to meet her fate, she tells her executioner that, “you cannot kill for I am already gone”. One of her signature rockers comes to life on “Powder Keg” , her take on a bad boy who’s a “ticking time bomb” who’s “dyin’ to fight” with lots of her great axe-grinding licks highlighting the cut with Doug and John pounding out the beat, and she gets into a heavier rock rhythm on “Close To The Bone”, a dark tale with some scary lyrics. The hard-driving “Red Letter Day” with more stinging licks, finds her “at the curve of the bay” contemplating her life, and another tale of woe is the gut-wrenching “Your Fall From Grace”, while the tear-jerker “Sing Me A Hymn” pleads for the comfort of a favorite song to bring some peace to a lost soul. My favorite song is “A Dangerous Game”, a heartfelt ballad that remembers a life of love and fond memories, while she “thought the sun would burn forever” and now realizes how much they tempted fate, and her bio of Little Richard called “Big Bad Wolf” tears the house down, and they beg for mercy while “drowning in a sea of tears” while “Goin’ Down For The Third Time” with more of Barb’s screaming guitar. Folks, it don’t get much better than this. For all you Coyote fans, this will knock you out. And if you’ve never heard them, this is your chance to join the crowd and enjoy the music. Find out more about them at the web site, at www.stonecoyotes.com.

 

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Have Gun Will Travel - Mergers & Aquisitions Have Gun Will Travel - Mergers & Acquisitions - Suburban Homes Records -   Bradenton, Florida’s Have Gun Will Travel have a natural instinct for combining folk, pop, rock and country influences to create a distinctive sound all their own. In the vein of Old Crow Medicine Show, they combine a mellow southern folk-rock brand with mountain-themed bluegrass by adding mandolin, banjo, fiddles and then turn to harmonicas for some bluesy interpretations. Lead singer-songwriter Matt Burke brings some amazing vocals and themes to the release. From the opening track, “Dream No More”, he tries to rationalize the bad that befalls some people who give up hope, but pleads for us to “walk through the darkness searching for some guiding light’. The road song “Thirteen Miles To Empty” touches on the sad luck story of so many musicians - not getting paid for gigs, four bald tires and running out of gas - and the sad ballad “Song of Seven Sisters” weaves a tale of seven sisters living in one room, with all forms of dysfunctional behaviors, from lust to laziness, anger and jealousy, who all met an untimely demise. The sad songs pile up, with “Katherine, Don’t Fall Off The Wagon”, a tear-jerker of a waitress who quit drinking but still can’t find peace in her life. “Time Machine” tells a tale of long days and late nights on the road with the band, and the final cut “Streets of New England” finds a broken man returning from war to a waiting family. There’s a lot of sadness from these young guys, but the music more than makes up for telling these tales of woe, and it sounds great! I enjoyed every single song and think it will be a hit with everyone who hears it. Highly recommended! Check them out at www.hgwtmusic.com