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Tangled in the Pines

19 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 9, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

They've endured late-'90s major-label hype and taken fire for their retro self-consciousness during their days on Arista. Despite all that, BR549 has proven remarkably resilient. While two founding members have departed, the reorganized lineup mixes veterans Chuck Mead, Shaw Wilson, and Don Herron with Chris Scruggs (Earl's grandson) and bassist Geoff Firebaugh. Loose and rocking, they rely on no-nonsense originals penned by Mead and Scruggs together and separately. Despite occasional clichés ("Honky Tonkin' Lifestyle"), most numbers are refreshingly free of pretense. Genuine regret pervades the Mead-Raul Malo rocker "That's What I Get." While "Tangled in the Pines" seems a confessional on the group's past, "Movin' the Country" skewers Music Row's soullessness ("tryin' hard not to fall through the cracks and grease up that machine"). A grittier, more honest instrumental sound complements the material. The quirky tempo changes on "No Friend of Mine" succeed and Herron's aggressive steel guitar now screams more than it cries. Few Nashville acts ever succeed in reinventing themselves; it seems BR549 have beaten those odds. --Rich Kienzle

1. That's What I Get
2. I'm All Right (For The Shape I'm In)
3. Ain't Got Time
4. She's Talking To Someone (She's Not Talking To Me)
5. Tangled In The Pines
6. No Train To Memphis
7. Movin' The Country
8. Run A Mile
9. When I Come Home
10. No Friend Of Mine
11. Honky Tonkin' Lifestyle
12. Way Too Late (To Go Home Early Now)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 9, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Dualtone
  • ASIN: B0001B0UCQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,423 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. Ross on April 1, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Playing Time - 34:59 -- BR549's new "Tangled in the Pines," is the album they've always wanted to do, and they think it's their best to date. With all original material, these countrybillies with their gutsy roots sound may very well be right. The band which formed in 1993 has always blended funky guitar twang, solid rimshots on the snare drum, wailing fiddle, slapped doghouse bass, a little plucked mandolin, and robust vocals. The result is exciting musicianship and contagious energy. And the word is out that they drink (or at least plug) Pabst Blue Ribbon beer!
Despite the departure of two of BR549's past members (co-founder Gary Bennett and bassist Jay McDowell) after the release of their 2001 album, "This is BR549," the band continues with a new youthful outlook and exuberance. Chuck Mead (vocals, guitar), Don Herron (fiddle, mandolin, steel guitar), and Shaw Wilson (drums, vocals) have now teamed with new members Geoff Firebaugh (bass) and Chris Scruggs (vocals, guitar). Both Geoff and Chris were members of an informal Nashville configuration called The Hillbilly All-Stars. Firebaugh, from the Pacific Northwest, is known for his work in several Seattle and Nashville punk and rockabilly bands. I'm told that the taste for Pabst is growing in that region too. Scruggs is the grandson of both the legendary Earl Scruggs and Louisiana Hayride performer Tex Dickerson, and son of famed Nashville musician Gary Scruggs and singer/songwriter Gail Davies.
"Tangled in the Pines" strikes gold on a number of fronts. Traditionalists will immediately think of Hank (as in Williams, of course) when Mead's vocals, Herron's steel and fiddle kick in on "When I Come Home (from Honky Tonkin')." Chris Scruggs also pens an appealing story of drinking and carousing called "Honky Tonkin' Lifestyle.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jim Bagley on March 12, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Losing two founding members (primary lead vocalist Gary Bennett, bass player Smilin' Jay McDowell) usually leads to a sharp musical decline for most groups, but alt-country vets BR-549 come back strong on their 5th full length album - and DualTone Records debut - Tangled In The Pines, largely thanks to new guitarist Chris Scruggs (besides being Earl's grandson, he's Gail Davies' son). Alone, with Scruggs, and with The Mavericks' Raoul Malo, co-founder Chuck Mead ably assumes major writing responsibilities on this CD of songs essentially about, in the band's eyes, trying to outrun one's demons, be they Nashville's music machine, politicians or underage girls.
"No Friend Of Mine," with its wildfire steel guitar, recalls the melody of George Jones' and Webb Pierce's "Why Baby Why" while "Run A Mile" and the suicidal title track contain downright primitive undertones. "When I Come Home" could be the son of Hank Williams' "Honky Tonkin'." Given that this fresh retro-twang nearly captures the excitement and spontaneity of BR5-49's crackling live shows, old Hank is undoubtably tapping his toes as he listens in from Hillybilly Heaven.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jon Hensley on April 11, 2004
Format: Audio CD
BR59 is the most interesting band in music today. They are fresh with their new band members and this new album, Tangled in the Pines, is just absolutely sweet. It's a diverse record.. you don't get just a country record, it's rocking too. Some of it sounds like Creedence, some of it sounds like Hank. How can you go wrong with that?
I recently saw these guys at the Bluegrass Inn on Broadway for the very first time and it blew me away. It was a show to remember and they performed these songs with so much energy..
I had Chuck on my radio show as a guest and a special guest DJ.. while on the program he agreed that it was the bands most diverse record and probably their best.
The album tells you a story, but it's not a concept record. It tells you about this band's journey and where they're at now (too late to go home early now). BR549 is the best band going today and this record is excellent, do yourself a favor and pick it up.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By DanD VINE VOICE on April 24, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Br5-49's last album, "This is Br5-49," wasn't bad--it was just commercialized a bit (though not enough). Their latest album comes after the loss of two band members, and a songwriting spurt by bandleader Chuck Mead. The result is a rootsy, rockin', honky-tonkin' album that's guaranteed to please.
Newcomer Chris Scuggs adds his vocals to some of the songs; his voice is a perfect complement to the band (and to Mead's rugged voice). The two wrote or co-wrote all of the album's songs; from the rocker "Run a Mile" to the Hank Williams-esque "That's What I Get" and the confessional "Honky Tonkin' Lifestyle." You'll find plenty of Hank (Sr. and Jr.) in here, plus some alternative music more in the tradition of Cross Canadian Ragweed or Charlie Robison.
Not to compare Br5-49 (God, that's a pain to type!) to any other band; it's not possible. They are their own, and always have been. This new lineup may be the best; it has certainly resulted in their best album to date. "Tangled in the Pines" is a must for alt-country fans, and for those mainstream listeners who want to get a peak at where the good music REALLY is.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By hyperbolium on April 17, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Having danced with a polishing makeover on 2001's "This is BR549," the band's changed their line-up, and pulled back from the more overt commercial inclinations of their former label. Which isn't to say that the previous album was without merit; producer Paul Worley helped the band let go of their retro schtick, while retaining the roots of their music - especially in their cover selection. This time out, the band pulls back in a bit more of their retro sound, and jettisons the cover material.
With Gary Bennett's exit, singer-guitarist Chuck Mead is left to provide nearly all of the band's material (together with new addition Chris Scruggs) and vocals. Almost magically, he's produced a disc full of songs that take in the band's influences without slavishly returning to the combo's jokey roots. Mead's songs call strongly on the tunes and tone of the cover material which was an earlier staple, but remain fresh and original. The vocals have an ease that absorbs the balladry and honky-tonk at the band's past, but with a vitality that's free of pretense.
Where earlier releases could sound forced, attempting to maintain the retro façade (or sanding down the corners for possible radio play), this one stays true to the band's underlying ethos. No doubt this reproduces much of the spark that fans first experienced at the band's early gigs at Robert's.
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