Big TweedHow the West Was Young
With vinyl all the rage lately, surprisingly, one of the most passed-over sections at Salzer’s Records is the country music $1 bin. The crammed section is filled with forgotten names of country music’s past when the genre wasn’t the watered-down commercial mess it is today. Though you won’t find Big Tweed’s new release in that section for obvious reasons, musically speaking, the songs, production and playing are reminiscent of the type of lost gems you’d find there. Chock-full of twang riffing, scaled-back production and solid songwriting, Big Tweed has grown leaps and bounds since its last release. Always a great live band and a staple at local events, Big Tweed has made a record that holds up to its dance-friendly live shows. “Saddles” perhaps the record’s standout track, wouldn’t be out of place on a Gram Parsons record, and the equally impressive “Leaving El Paso” could easily be mistaken for a Merle Haggard or George Jones tune. Speaking of Jones, the record features an obligatory cover of his “Shakin’ the Blues.” But besides that, the smoking 11-tracker is all original material by the band’s chief songwriters, Mike Askay and Christian Gallo. Instrumentals such as “The Jerusalem Cricket Rag” and “The Longhorn Situation” should also satisfy those who appreciate lap steel and double-neck guitar shredding as much as forlorn lyrics of heartbreak and desert watering holes. Simply put, this is throwback honky-tonk country music done right and one of the best recent local releases.
— Chris Jay.