Mark Pickerel & His Praying Hands
Bloodshot Records BS-146
Shades of Lee Hazelwood and the edgier side of Chris Isaak color Cody’s Dream, the sophomore solo effort from former Screaming Trees’ drummer-turned-front man Mark Pickerel. Taking inspiration from a radio-less roadtrip through the South, the Seattle-based Pickerel parlayed the excess of “quiet” highway time into a baker’s dozen of songs that draw stylistically from everything from Motown to Morricone and Nick Cave to Calexico blurring the line time and again between rock, pop, soul, and the alt side of country. (Visit www.bloodshotrecords.com.)
Waco Express: Live & Kickin’ at Schuba’s Tavern Chicago
Bloodshot Records BS-144
What with seven studio albums to their credit, Chicago-based alt country anti-boot-scootin’ boogie hooligans the Waco Brothers have always been more about the live in-the-flesh deal. It makes Waco Express a welcome addition to the catalogue. A brawny outfit whose members’ punk roots mix with a latter appreciation for traditional country, the finished product is a sourmash of combat boot dust and barley hops residue. Recorded at a favorite Windy City haunt in Schuba’s Tavern, the Waco’s kick up a dust storm of rock and roots where you can almost smell the stale beer. The only thing missing is the leg kicks!
(Dan Ferguson is a free-lance music writer and host of The Boudin Barndance, broadcast Thursday nights from 6 – 9 pm on WRIU-FM 90.3. He lives in Peace Dale and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)