Trent Holloway – “Tonk Honky” – Outlaw Country?

I made the mistake of reading the bio… so I’m biased going in. I mean, I’ve always loved”Hee-Haw,” Cash, Clark, Prine, Kristofferson, Waylon (got to spend a few minutes in the park with him, one day – great guy), Nelson…  So, well you’ll get why I say I’m biased.

1360294851_tireswall “It’s like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Dwight Yoakam had a baby, and then Hank Williams, Jr. and Van Halen had a baby. And those two babies grew up and had a baby. And Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Charlie Daniels took turns kicking that baby’s @$$ while Billy Joe Shaver and John Prine watched and played poker. Now write all that into a Steve Earle song, and that’s pretty much what my music is.”—Trent Holloway

Trent Holloway’s record “Tonk Honky” is a true independent outlaw country shining spur in the side of the bloated country industry. Irreverent  serious, funny, light, and at times a bit silly just for fun – such as his “The Devil Came Down To Georgia,” a crazy sounding tribute to the outlaw fiddler himself, Charlie Daniels. I’ve heard some tight renditions, but this one is excellent.

1360636129_HEADSHOT2Prine’s twisty sense of metaphor comes out in “Willie” – let’s just say it tells a story I wasn’t expecting. Trucker songs, anyone? “Tonk Honky” (the title cut) has that fun Jerry Lee feel to it, and reminds me of the those good old cb songs we’d find out on the summer highways driving across the country in the old day, when FM was a luxury.

He’s funky, smooth, rough around the edges, slings a guitar that sounds like Mississippi mud with Paisley tasties, and he writes from the heart while keeping a cool “top of the head – that’s what came out” attitude. Things are just slightly out of tune. Vocals aren’t even meant to be all L.A. pretty, they stand right out in your face and tell it like it is, like in “Workin’ Man”

Simpler themes come out and spin thoughtful yarns in “Rose For Dixie,” and “Runnin’ Out,” showing yet another facet to Holloway’s songwriting. To say the least, he’s got a knack with words and topics that’s undeniable. Add his unique musical presentation, and you’ve got an outlaw country trail chili record that bridges the decades and injects some hot peppers into an otherwise pretty bland bowl of independent country.

Oh, and the last track? Cash? Yeah, now that’s the stuff!

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