- Audio CD (March 25, 2003)
- Original Release Date: March 18, 2003
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Sony
- ASIN: B00008NGA7
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #188,930 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Together nearly a decade, this Austin quartet is renowned for fusing energy with a near-fanatical devotion to Buck Owens's classic Bakersfield sound. While that worthy model had on past albums resulted in a surfeit of slavishly imitative tunes, Genuine marks a decided move forward. Buck-isms are still abundant, the continuing devotion reflected by their Tele-twang instrumental sound, Tony Villanueva's and Brian Hofeldt's vocals, a Bucked-up version of Jim Lauderdale's "The Way to My Heart," and a revival of the swirling Buckaroo instrumental "The Happy-Go-Lucky Guitar." But with longtime Randy Travis producer Kyle Lehning in charge, the band is beginning to reveal other facets clearly inspired by mid-'60s rock--even Buck himself loved the early Beatles. The stylistic changes are most apparent on the pulsating original "Scratch My Itch" and on "Whole Other World," a quintessential lament of the lonely, city-weary country boy. And closing with the acoustic bluegrass gospel of "The Wheel" is a positively inspired choice. Though "Love Me Some Elvis" is a banal tribute unworthy of their time, the rest is near perfection. --Rich Kienzle
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I like the Derailers with the two replacements it took to pick up the slack from Tony's leaving.
This album has some polished gems fans and New Derailers fans alike will appreciate. Worth the cost of a listen.
You'll hang around for more if you're a country fan, at all.
So the Derailers are a breath of fresh air. With the exception of the maudlin "Elvis song", I enjoyed this set from start to finish--good songs, strong vocals, fine "twangy" musicianship--these guys deliver. Why not 5 stars ? Well--if I give the Derailers 5 stars, what do I give Merle Haggard ?
In summary, if you like real country with a contemporary touch, rather than over-produced "mush", get this CD--your pleasure will be " Genuine " !
The difficulty of creating a compelling hybrid, demonstrated by the career arcs of acts like The Mavericks and Dwight Yoakam, is complicated (in many Derailers fans' hearts, at least) by the band's early success with purer Bakersfield sounds. In contrast to the latin-tinged balladry of The Mavericks or the jazz influences Yoakam and producer Pete Anderson layered under their twang, the Derailers focus on '60s pop sounds, including surf-toned guitars, Roy Orbison styled weepers and Sunset Strip era rock.
At times this combination is a natural. One of the album's most successful tracks, "Scratch My Itch," mates the band's twangy roots with reverbed guitars, a Revolver-inflected melody and an Allman Brothers' guitar hook. The result is something the Smithereens might have come up with had they started in Texas, rather than New Jersey. Some of the other pop influences tread into overproduction. For example, the chorused vocals of "Genuine" sound as if Jeff Lynne got his say in the arrangement, and the bouncing guitar riff of "Take it Back" is more mindful of "Footloose" than the Buck-and-Don harmony and chiming 12-string guitar solo that make up the bulk of the track.
The album's production and arrangements are highly manicured, masking some of the band's innate kinetic energy. The album's Roy Orbison tribute slot is filled this time by "Alone With You," combining a fine vocal, superb, languorous steel playing, and strings that sound like synthesizers - the result never fully mounts the requisite heart-rending swell. Similarly, the ironic-yet-loving look at Elvis, "I Love Me Some Elvis," may work well in concert (where fans can cheer each element of the Cliff's Notes life story), but is banal on disc.
The band's Bakersfield roots are still to be heard in good quantity. Jim Lauderdale's "The Way to My Heart" feeds off of Villanueva and Hofeldt's harmony singing, and a remake of the Buckaroos instrumental "The Happy Go Lucky Guitar" captures the essence of the original with a surf twist. Villanueva's "Whole Other World" casts a jaundiced city-fried eye back to the comforts of the country home, "Leave a Message, Juanita" has a terrific Tex-Mex sound, and the closing gospel, "The Wheel," combines bluegrass instruments and country vocals.
Given the The Derailers' and Buck Owens' shared affinity for The Beatles and other '60s pop sounds, the band's continued evolution from heartfelt Bakersfield tribute to an original mix is, in a sense, the truest possible tribute to Owens. The change in their sound, initiated with Dave Alvin on "Full Western Dress," continues to be refined by producer Kyle Lehning. At times Lehning's work is a gentle nudge that could actually land the Derailers some commercial airplay, at other points however, his choices seem to bury the band's personality, exposing too little of The Derailers' considerable charms. There are some fine tracks here, but it's not yet the five-star album this band is so obviously capable of.
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