Only One – Billy Roberts and The Rough Riders (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

GreenbahBlurring lines and subverting expectation is the job of every musician worth his salt and the fact that Billy Roberts both obscures the distinction between alt-country and garage rock and does so from a whole different cultural heartland, shows that he is all too aware of that.

By rights this should be an East Nashville bar band raising disapproving eyebrows of Music City purists and the pulses of outlaw country devotees in equal measure for their scuzzy and raw approach to America’s musical lore. The fact that they do so with both feet firmly planted on the soil of another country proves what a small and wonderfully connected place the world is these days. But we covered all of that last time around when discussing the, then current release, Blood and Bones.

There is a wonderfully underground delivery to Billy’s vocals, the same world-weariness that haunted Johnny Thunders sound, and whilst sonically he might not seem like the best reference to aim for as a vocalist, you can hear a life lived to the full, the struggling underdog and the warrior poet in both their voices.

But this isn’t a solo effort and as the song moves towards it’s logical conclusion, neatly tied together by Rory Facione’s subtle and sparing beats, it builds through melodic momentum, tempered piano breaks and finally reaches fruition via Alex Quinn’s masterful guitar work.

If I said my latest favourite alt-country rock band came from a one time cotton town in the south of the country, no one would think anything of it, tell them that the country in question is Australia and it will have them spluttering into their Mint Julep!

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About Dave Franklin

Musician, scribbler, historian, gnostic, seeker of enlightenment, asker of the wrong questions, delver into the lost archives, fugitive from the law of averages, blogger, quantum spanner, left footed traveller, music journalist, zenarchist, freelance writer, reviewer and gemini. People have woken up to worse.
This entry was posted in alt-country, country rock, garage rock, rock, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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