While not necessarily one of the first genres considered by Dangerdog Music Reviews, I've always enjoyed country and southern rock. I grew up with The Allman Brothers, Charlie Daniels, and Little Feat to name some early bands. Like most genres, in the last twenty years, country and southern rock has evolved and blurred boundaries. Just think of Kid Rock bending his rap rock into some classic southern style.
So here's Hillbilly Vegas and their debut, Ringo Manor. Think less Allman Brothers and more towards Kentucky Headhunters. They can rock, but still also favor banjo and other sides that offer the grits and gravy sound. And it's the rock side that interest me. Shake It Like A Hillbilly, Oklahoma 3.2, Grits N Gray, and Mason Jars and Moonlight offer a better balance between 'twang' and rock. When it sounds too country, they don't necessarily lose me, but my interest wanes. By example, Helluva Nigth, at least by the title, would suggest a boot-kicking romp. Not so much. It's more like a country hangover waiting for the hair of a Harlan County mongrel in a dirty shot glass to offer revival.
Nevertheless, the best thing about Hillbilly Vegas is that they don't sound like polished mainstream Nashville 'just-get-me-on-the-charts-with-Taylor-Swift' bullshit. Just listen to vocalist Steve Harris' anecdotal prounouncements in Shake It Like a Hillbilly. Hillbilly Vegas is fun, but also quite deft a merging rock with country and southern music in a contemporary setting. I'm sure Ringo Manor will not appeal to most Dangerdog readers, but check them out just the same. Recommended.
On Ringo Manor, Hillbilly Vegas effectively puts classic rock into country and southern music, but sometimes, to not the best advantage, the 'twang' gets the upper hand.
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