Roger Alan Wade 'Deguello Motel' Johnny Knoxville Records

An established songwriter, rather than establishment one, whose songs have been covered in the past by Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash among others. His own recordings got a boost when they were used in his cousin Johnny Knoxville Jackass TV show and movie. His songs are about the people who live their lives on the fringes and margins. Everyday folk who inhabit the stereotype of so called 'redneck culture' but who's lives are as real, and more so in most cases than a stereotype might suggest. The association with Jackass and it's style of humour produced two previous albums - 2005's All Likkered Up and the 2008 release Stoned Traveller with songs about Chickens and Poontang, as well as titles like Fryin' Bacon Nekkid and If You're Gonna Be Dumb which are all delivered with a strong sense of humour and haplessness which can be viewed in several Youtube clips. Wade can be more serious as he shows in Deguello Motel where gets to the heart of these people, their struggles, their ups and downs. But first and foremost Wade has a strong believeable straight-up voice that can convey pain and personality a swell as the more profane. His songs are usually delivered with just a voice and single guitar which, outside of a live situation, can often come across as too stark; and while there are times when a little pedal steel or similar would add atmosphere to the songs. Wade, however can hold your attention through the strength of his story telling and vocal delivery in a way that few can. In the way that Johnny Cash did it with his first Rick Rubin produced album, but, for me, Wade can and does. The are many songs here that shine not least the title songs which immediately sets the tone of observation and realism that permeates these songs. These lines from the open verse of the title songs show Wade's dexterity with a deceptively simple way with words that tell so much -  "The desk clerk's a jerk an ol' carnival fella. I asked where he's from he said "Lake Isabella". I told him I been there but I never had. He looked at the clock and I signed the pad." Other song titles include Cowboy Angel, Johnny and Laranda, Ramblin' Rebel Boy and Far Journey From Home which tell the stories of hard times and the occasional soft heart. Perhaps the nearest 'below-the-radar' artist who delivers such strong songs would be the late Blaze Foley. Roger Alan Wade is too much of an outsider to ever gain recognition in the mainstream in this age of sanitized security blanket breast-fed country but shows again that something good, something edgy still exists out there in the shadows, or in room 17 in the Deguello Motel.