It's Good To Be Lonesome

The Lonesome Billies

Independent release, 2015

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


One look at Portland's The Lonesome Billies – and just a few seconds into their debut album It's Good To Be Lonesome – and it's quite apparent that names like Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson were in constant rotation in the lives of these four guys at some point. But there's a whole lot more to The Lonesome Billies than theme songs to tumbleweeds and saloons.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Truth is, The Lonesome Billies has their roots in punk rock and not country Western, were more into skateboarding than riding horses, and take that pedigree with them across this dark and dusty listen.

The first side of the album starts off with great, quick honky tonk on the opener “Oh My Friend” before the pedal steel of the country “God Damn It, Bill.” “The Bottom Of The Bottle Is Almost Dry” brings the pace down before evolving a tragic song with keys, and then swiftly shifts into the galloping, Brent Amaker feel of “The Day I Lost My Life.” Side A finishes off with the blues influenced and harmonica friendly “Lawman,” which moves like a warm, Western ballad.

Side B gets dustier and reflective on the album highlight “Ode To The Open Road,” where female backing vocals and aching pedal steel add much beauty, before the very Cash-friendly “Stay Lonesome.” On “Die Lonesome,” The Lonesome Billies can't find good in much of anything, and while it's lyrically a bummer, it's musically heartfelt. The pace and mood pick back up on the reckless “Y'all Never Came Out West” and ends on the cheerful tambourine and shuffling of “1922”.

This is an album for those as comfortable wearing a cowboy hat as they are a Clash shirt; for people who enjoy the solo work of Mike Ness as much as his work in Social Distortion; and for those who adorn faded tattoos and are as familiar with both Whitey Morgan and Brian Fallon.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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