DIARY - 6 FEBRUARY 2013 - THE DERAILERS CD REVIEW
HERE COME THE DERAILERS (Lucky Dog-Sony).
BUCK OFF GOURDS
my PHD in heartaches and misery/ and a BS in bar stool philosophy/ you're
my inspiration in for higher education/ now the final test is right here
in front of me/ I'm taking a bar exam under a neon sign/ I'm going to
graduate when you're off my mind." - Bar Exam - Tony Villanueva-B
exports The Derailers knew they were on the verge of success when
they copped a bagging from fellow Austin band The Gourds.
It seems the retro country combo frocked up a little too much for
Gourds front man Kevin Russell.
"They came to town from Oregon posing as a fun little Buck Owens
cover band with shiny clothes," Russell jibed.
"They were actually working the whole time as liaisons between
the city, real estate tycoons and high tech rollers. Believe it or
not these guys are power hungry and they are extremely dangerous."
favour Nudie Hollyweird suits and plunder the past for their music but
do it with credibility absent from many peers.
Their musical pinnacle was Rory Lee-Dennis Knudson update of 1956 Wynn
Stewart hit Waltz Of The Angels, featuring Buck Owens, but they
have now lifted the bar.
Yes, the lads cut Bar Exam - sibling song of Kenny Mellons He'll
Never Be A Lawyer (Because He Can't Pass The Bar) and Marty Brown's
Behind Bars - on their fifth album Here Come The Derailers
And, of course, they copped flack for moving from rock producer Dave Alvin
to Kyle Lehning of Randy Travis and Waylon Jennings fame.
"There'll probably be some story line in the Press that we dumped
Dave Alvin and sold out to Nashville," guitarist-singer Brian Hofeldt
"But Dave's been telling us all along that we should get a Nashville
producer. He'd say 'y'all are a country band. You should work with someone
who's produced some country hits."
we were all the rage in Paris, San Antonio and Dallas/ and every honky
tonk and dance hall in between/ hardly had to cross the state line/ Texas
was our big time/ thought we'd made it far enough/ cause we were all the
rage in Paris." - All The Rage In Texas - Jim Lauderdale.
So it was
no surprise that the band cooks on the wry word play of their own tune
Bar Exam and prophetic Jim Lauderdale tune All The Rage In Texas
about a band who can't break beyond their home turf.
song, replete with nice refrain, is not entirely prophetic - The Derailers
belatedly won release here and Japan.
They began as a duo in 1990 with Hofeldt and Tony Villanueva but reunited
in Austin in 1993 and cut a live disc before their studio albums.
Although they mainly cut original material they punted here on Dallas
Frazier's Charlie Rich hit Mohair Sam, Kostas tune More
Of Your Love, and If It's Really Got To Be This Way from
the prolific Gary Nicholson, Donnie Fritts and Arthur Alexander.
Your Love - deeply rooted in the Owens-Stewart Bakersfield sound -
sets the mood of a disc enriched by Lauderdale's input.
Jim penned honky tonk lament I'd Follow You Anywhere with Melba
Montgomery and teamed with Hofeldt and Villanueva for the rollicking Your
Guess Is As Good As Mine.
The mix of band originals and covers works - especially when highlights
include Bar Exam, the steel drenched You Know What She's Like
and finale There Goes The Bride featuring Delbert McClinton
The altar amorist gets, ah, hot feet - "like someone set fire to
Nice twist, fellows.
And, yes, Hofeldt does his Raul Malo impersonation of Roy Orbison on original
tune I See My Baby.
A good starter kit for local lads harvesting angst - but in a melodic
and accessible way for suburban styrofoam stylists who missed country
when it was cool in the sixties.
GENUINE (LUCKY DOG-SONY)
DERAILERS BACK ON TRACK
country refugee Adam Harvey joined Montana hit writer Kostas for a session
on a Nashville sojourn the union stalled when the famed American suggested
a boomerang metaphor.
Harvey, like the song, didn't come back for the bait.
But Kostas found a home for his idea when he wrote Boomerang Heart
with Jim Collins and Brian Hofeldt for The Derailers sixth album Genuine
Hofeldt and fellow Oregonian refugee Tony Villanueva, both 36, used it
to punctuate Alone With You and the title track that Tony wrote
with Al Anderson.
Brian and Tony, co-founders of the Austin based band, wrote some disc
highlights - Tex-Mex flavoured Leave A Message Juanita, Scratch My
Itch and wry parody Uncool.
But they chose a Jim Lauderdale pair The Way To My Heart and Take
It Back, co-written with John Leventhal and Leslie Satcher, to set
the retro county mood.
I Love Me Some Elvis, written by Doug Powell and Bryan Kennedy,
is designed for listeners to "help them get in touch with their inner
Elvis", says Hofeldt.
"Part of the Derailers sound and image is happiness, and we have
so much fun recording and playing in the dance halls we just try to provide
people with a good time, a smile and a laugh," he added.
Precious peers have bagged the band and Dwight Yoakam for milking the
Buck Owens sound.
Despite rejoicing in that historic west coast country-twang this is the
first time they cut an Owens song - 1967 instrumental The Happy-Go-Lucky
"I think Buck will be happy because Don Rich (Owens' long time lead
guitarist and collaborator who died in a motorcycle accident in 1974)
was co-writer on it," said Hofeldt.
who took most of the lead vocals, left the band in 2003 to pursue
a higher calling as a minister.
When asked if Villanueva has heard this new release, the first by
the band without him, Hofeldt sounds surprised and said that Villanueva
"I gotta get him a copy of this," Hofeldt said.
"He lives up in Oregon now. We're a little bit out of touch.
I'm so busy doing what I'm doing, and he's busy dong what he's doing.
I gotta give him a shout, get him a copy, see what he thinks. Tony's
a great guy. He's always been very supportive and encouraging. I'll
bet he'd be proud."
big splits, the one between Villanueva and Hofeldt caused turmoil.
"New Year's eve 2003 was his last gig." Hofeldt explains.
"At that point, with Tony leaving the band, I just wasn't sure if
I wanted to keep doing it because Tony and I had such a tight musical
relationship, and we'd been doing that for 10 years at that point, and
gosh, it was like a divorce. I missed my buddy. But I took a month off
and talked to the guys in the band, and we decided to forge on."
The band released its ninth album Guaranteed To Satisfy in 2008.
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