Within their realm of unabashed purveyors of straight, hard-edged honky-tonk, the band still manages to come off as fresh and innovative.
These days, it seems that originality in Country music is an oxymoronic proposition. The hillbilly highway to the top is jammed with tour buses full of publicists, make-up artists, wardrobe consultants, jean ironers, boot lickers, and, oh yeah, a guy in the back with a guitar. Littering the airwaves and outlet malls of America is their vacuous, fist-pumping brand of soft-rock arena country. It is music that takes its production cues from Sting, not Buck, harkens to the songbook of Glen Frey, not Glen Campbell, and prefers highwire acts and smoke machines to the kind of sharp wordplay and archetypal themes the music used to stand for.
On their fourth CD, Rex and the boys deliver on the promise that between nostalgia and progress is timelessness. Within their realm of unabashed purveyors of straight, hard-edged honky-tonk, the band still manages to come off as fresh and innovative. Their outlook from the heart of country music gives them a clear shot at the crux of the identity crisis at its core: Who am I now that she is gone? What will become of me? Why do I keep doing this to myself?
From clownish desperation, to escape fantasies you don’t have the strength to act on, to regret, to being driven to insanity, Rex's old school writing breathes a harrowing honesty back into a form that too often staggers down the Hallmark card aisle. Only Rex could make you feel sorry for a man lamenting the failure of his extra-marital affair. All of this is backed by the Misery Boys' airtight mastery.
These songs may make you want to cry, but you won’t want the guys on the barstools next to you to see that, so grip the frosty mug and just keep smilin', buddy. Just keep smilin'.
The Good Ain’t Gone
It Won’t Be Long (And I’ll Be Hating You)---JOHNNY PAYCHECK COVER
Heartache To Hide