HYBRID MUSIC | by Embo Blake, March, 2005

Real country music... not the type that the hit-makers in Nashville have been churning out for the past twenty years... But the kind that Johnny Cash was making for over five decades and Merle Haggard continues to create, God bless him. I feel very refreshed listening to the Hacienda Brothers. This self-titled record from the honky-tonk duo is full of songs of heartbreak and loss, twanging guitars, and even the odd baritone solo here and there. Rich vocals, deep and resonant, are to be found on each song, whether it's Chris Gaffney or Dave Gonzalez handling the lead vocal chores. Their voices ring of days gone by and their songs are brilliantly well written, both honky tonk tunes and reflective balladry. This record is, quite frankly, everything that is right about real country music that illuminates everything wrong with the current pop-country mainstream. I think that if Chet Atkins had known what he was creating, he would have thought twice before introducing the world to countrypolitan... but I digress.

"She's Gone" begins the album in steel guitar soaked fashion and an excellent guitar solo, lamenting the departure of love. Just like real country music should be. "Mental Revenge" begins the twang on the album and is produced to sound like it has come directly off of an LP from the late 60's. Just like real country music should be. "Leavin' On My Mind" takes my ear to the glory days of early Johnny Paycheck when Lloyd Green was playing his unique brand of pedal steel. These licks are brilliantly executed and nail the sound that steel is supposed to have. Just like real country music should be. "South Of Lonesome" has that brilliant quirky twanging guitar that reminds me of the righteous era of early George Jones and also the same sort of excellent songwriting that came from that same period. Just like real country music should be. "Railed" is full of guitars that are reminiscent of the Ventures, underscored by that same awesome pedal steel and solid rhythm section found on other songs. Just like real country music should be. The lonesome train feel of "No Time To Waste" is very reminiscent of Johnny Cash's salad days. Just like real country music should be.

So, if you are like me and have a special place in your heart for the country music of the 60's - the golden era of Nashville - then this album simply must be heard. Go find yourself a copy immediately. Now I've just got to formulate a plan to have the Hacienda Brothers tour with Dale Watson and The Domino Kings and play clubs with excellent dance floors for kickin' up the heels of boots. But not shiny boots - the real working cowboy's dirty scuffy boots.