Friday, February 20, 2009

The Dixons
Still Your Fool
Cow Island

Fresh outta Brooklyn’s bedevilled pastures sway these heartworn, hard-wearing honky-tonkeers with a debut that’s an authentic hark back to auld Bakersfield. Nope, honestl;y, hold your horses. Sure, authentic is a word all corralled up with pastiche in some parlours but this set of wistful shuffles, bad luck ballad-monging and fiddle and steel incitements to raise a wry glass such as the title track and Broken Hearted, Lovesick And Blue (replete with brilliant angry-bull guitar bruising solo). But it’s no hunched-shouldered subdued bar hound with hangdog eyes and wringing hands but, with the exception of a beautifully desolate cover of Ernest Tubb’s Thanks A Lot, a delightful design to dance your blues away, none more so than the errant nights entreaty Please Baby Don’t Go. Jeff Mowrer has a voice that’s a perfect partner for such fooled halls of blame as these with no trace of the irritating vocal hick-tics that clutter up too much country as compensation for the absence of real direct feel that it once conveyed as a matter of course. Gentle, graceful and laden with several gallons of smoke-aged gravitas and traditions be damned, tarnished and tethered to a loose post too for his writing generally surpasses the quality of the luminaries like Buck Owens and Merle Haggard (be sure to find yours Stuly on Steve Earle’s coffee table in several pairs of cowboy boots and three hats…). Similarly the sublime playing and manner in which this album conducts itself never stifles the genuine article being scripted here. This is a wonderfully evocative half-hour of eleven tracks that moisten your tastebuds for the trip to the twelfth bar and beyond and one of those rare records that is so rightly of it’s ilk that it resembles what you always thought such records would sound like but rarely actually do.


Stu Gibson

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