Since the heyday of the Allman Bros., Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker, and various other Southern rock bands, country rock has been in constant flux tending more to country than rock, which is actually an interesting trend because it's touching off a number of excellent country-folk releases as well, such as Trevor Alguire's Till Sorrow Begins to Call (here). Livewire, however, decided to resurrect the old Charlie Daniels / Outlaws sound with a difference…a personal signature that I, in fact, can't put a name to, but detect a bit of James Lee Stanley, Loggins & Messina, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Cowboy, and other chart and rock-folkers. It's probably the more romantic side present in the lyrics and general approach (fiddler Cory Schultz and steel guitarist Mike Johnson helping greatly in that direction) that influence such a take on things, but the multiple vocals don't hurt either.
Andy Eutsler possesses a classic country voice, and the guy's lyrical approach, clearly shown in his own titular Livin', are wrought from pure working class roots sentiments—no fancy-schmancy city philosphizing, no yuppie existentialist angst, just ground level concerns plainly put. Snail and other bands tried this approach and didn't quite cut it, but Livewire has a bit of an out-of-the-ordinary vaulting sentiment in its instrumental mode that lifts the songs well off the killing floor (check out how this imbues Better, abetted by Eutsler's higher register singing).
Whiskey Sunday is Livewire's Journey cut, a free flowing rocker,and I'll Go to Prison is pure Charlie Daniels (and also another Eutsler cut) and then rhythm guitarist Danny Bell crafts up a weeper that'll have the wimmenfolk crying in their lattes and the men brushing back a tear of memory. That all said, I have to say that I don't see Livin' going far on rock charts, the Poco days of the past era are long gone I'm afraid, but it should easily tear up the country side of things…and should they want ingress to the rock world, I have a suggestion: a couple or three good balls-out on-fire rockers next time around would start inflowing the rockers as well. The band has three guitars and Bobby Degonia, lead axe, reminds me of Sniff 'N the Tears Loz Netto / Mick Dyche signature, so I know the chops are there. The whole atmosphere of Livin' indicates that they may well be hiding the kind of uproarious jams the Doobie Bros. were capable of in their early days, and we sure as hell badly need a return of that sound and spirit. I think Livewire may be just the band to do it…with a lot more sagebrush, rattlesnake, and Saturday-nite-at-the-roadhouse elements.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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