"Hillbilly" and proud of it
Greg Brady | Capital City | 04/26/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"BR5-49's music takes its inspiration from a time when country music was played by folks who grew up in places with names like Butchers Holler. Covers of Webb Pierce,Moon Mullican, and Ray Price take their place alongside band originals and like-minded revivalist Gram Parsons ("Hickory Wind").
The sound is pre-'countrypolitan'...straight out of the honky tonk..with some rockabilly and Western swing at times,too. To make plain that this music has little in common with the pop-flavoured country coming out of Nashville these days, the band's name derives from the phone number for Junior Sample's car lot on the "Hee Haw" television show.
"Cherokee Boogie" is a great novelty that'll have you singing "Hey-ho-a-leena!" in no time. Band original "Little Ramona (Gone Hillbilly Nuts)" recognizes the common ground between the wildlife of punk rockers and honky tonk denizens ("She ain't ashamed of the way she was/She hears ol' Hank she can't enough") as Ramona trades in a Mohawk for hair "grown out and piled up high". Weeper "Are You Gettin' Tired of Me?" is another good original number that contrasts its love gone sour lyric with a spritely fiddle. "Hickory Wind" is a well-done cover of Gram Parsons (a singer that "old country" fans would probably love if they gave him a chance).
Their faster cover of "Crazy Arms" won't make you forget the original. The tune just doesn't have the proper melancholy with a quicker tempo. "Chains of this Town" just feels a little unfinished. The mariachi melody is catchy but the hook never really gets solid enough.
The band clearly has some talent but the original songs are still a bit of a mixed bag. This one will appeal primarily to diehard country traditionalists, Americana lovers, and confirmed BR5-49 fans. If you're new to the band, I would get BIG BACKYARD BEAT SHOW before this one."