Right On Time

The Lonesome Billies

Independent release, 2019

http://thelonesomebillies.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/06/2019

Portland, Oregon is certainly home to plenty of artistic, sometimes abrasive, and always creative indie rock outfits, including The Lonesome Billies, who takes a path that many don't associate with music coming from the Northwest: country.

Now when I say country, I'm not talking about the sort of country that litters the FM dial today. The Lonesome Billies embraces classic country, honky tonk, outlaw country, and the sort of heart on your sleeve song craft that's synonymous with Cash, Williams, and Jennings. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Five Dollar Bill” starts the listen bare and warm with spirited guitar work and deep vocals on the cautious alt-country opener, and “Good Ol Complacency” follows with some blues nods in the rhythmic and playful delivery that's not short on grooves, either..

Near the middle, “Tall Cotton” brings us a more straightforward country rocker with honky tonk influences that will get you on the dance floor, while “Pine Box” gets high and lonesome with a moving, emotive spirit of throwback ideas. “Just Trying To Live,” one of the album's best, then flows with hypnotic, mesmerizing instrumentation that's executed with a darker demeanor and with plenty of style.

Towards the end, “Sunday Night Ramblin' Man” recruits an anthemic quality in its rugged landscape, and “Guys Like Us” uses crisp, gentle percussion strategically and traces of outlaw country in its blue collar themes. “Tulsa Time,” a Don Williams cover, ends the listen with backing vocals and rural melodies alongside some of the best guitar playing on this disc.

Though The Lonesome Billies plays sounds that we often associate with cowboy boots and dusty roads, they grew up on a steady diet of punk rock, and those ethics and grit are still very apparent across this exceptional and timeless record. If bands like Lucero or Drag The River occupy space in your collection, go ahead and make room for The Lonesome Billies, too.

Rating: B+

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