Honky tonk lives in Rancho Deluxe and my guess is that Rancho Deluxe lives in the honky tonks. Judging by how tight these guys are and the music they put on this disc, I'd say they've been living there for some time. You just don't get this good practicing in a garage. In fact, you don't get this good practicing, period. You have to play!
This is country music, my friends, but Bubba doesn't live here. Though the themes are similar, the only gimmick used is poetic intelligence. Call it twang without Nashville ego (or lack thereof), if you will. The songs actually live on the strength of the music and not the genre.
To accomplish this, Rancho Deluxe brought in some stellar help. Jay Dee Maness mans the pedal steel in his usual fashion and that alone is worth the price of the disc. Megan Lynch plays perfecto fiddle when called upon and sings more than adequate backup vocals. Michael Witcher tosses in top-rate dobro.
Still and all, this is the band's album and they make a good run at it. Mark Adams writes some pretty fine songs (Lonesome Home Security, I Bought a Bottle and Small Town Gossip are definitely major league) and as lead voice, fronts the band well. Jesse Jay Harris and brother Graham form a rhythm section which perks up the ears and Jesse's guitar spans numerous styles within the country genre with elan. Check out the Chet Atkins-stylings in the instrumental On the Fence and the too-short excellent slide run at the end of Small Town Gossip—smokin'!
No doubt Rancho Deluxe packs clubs wherever they play in hometown Los Angeles. Cowboy hats probably line the streets outside, but if you don't especially care for country music, don't let that keep you away. They rock, if this album is any indication at all, and they can play. My gut feeling is that on the right song, they could make anyone a believer. Just in case I haven't mentioned it, it's not always about the genre. It's about the music! Take it, Jesse!
Edited by: David N. Pyles (email@example.com)
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