For me , a new record from St. Louis are based roots rock/ alt country band the Bottle Rockets is a cause for celebration.
They must have crowd funded for it as the liner notes are dominated by a huge list of “executive producers,” which goes to show I’m not the only one who loves the Festus, St. Louis roots rockers who were there at the beginning of the alt-country/ roots rock /No Depression movement of the ’90s which spawned the likes of Whiskeytown later Ryan Adams, Wilco, Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo, the Old ’97s and many more. But the Bottle Rockets are still going as strong as ever with this new CD.
They have long been the champion of the working poor in the mid-west. They can weave a gritty tale of rural, white trash discontent that will raise the hair on your arms.
But South Broadway Athletic Club is the picture of contentment. It is the story of a man, presumably frontman Brian Henneman who wrote most of these 11 songs on his own, who takes pleasure in the simple things of life like a good dog, a good woman, simple blissful ignorance, a happy weekend or just spending the day lazing around the house.
In addition to loving the simple things in life, Henneman also loves his electric 12 string guitar which takes centre stage on the CD as much as his whiskey soaked croak does.
That jangling 12 string grabs the listener by the earlobes from the first track “ Monday Morning (Every time I Turn Around.)”
“Big Fat Nothing” is about the joys of doing absolutely nothing after a hard week’s work. But “Dog” cuts the meaning of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to it’s essence.
“I love my dog, if you don’t love my dog, that’s okay, I wouldn’t want you to, He’s my dog. Sometimes life is simple, sometimes life really is that simple,“ Henneman croons.
Ain’t that the truth. It’s why the CD has barely left my CD player since I got it. It even has a gorgeous, straight to the point, perfect guitar solo. All in just over two minutes.
The new, happier Henneman might be a little disconcerting for fans used to the more serious, gritty Bottle Rockets who brought us harrowing, blood curdling tales like “Kerosene, “ Wave that Flag” “Dead Dog Memories” and “Indianapolis,” so to remind listeners of their glorious past, they redo an earlier song “Building Chryslers,” by turning it into a louder, darker, more grungy number which is an anomaly on a CD of bright, cheerful, jangling rockers. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
To quote another band, the polar opposite of the Bottle Rockets “ It ain’t a crime to be good To yourself.”
Long live the Bottle Rockets.
Band: The Bottle Rockets
Genre: rock/ roots rock