The Hickmen 'Take A Walk Out West' Justbobs

This roots rock band are delivering their second of songs that look closely at the social fabric of American small towns and of urban attitudes. Nothing I Know tells of living in a town with nothing to fix where "you'll love it here there are no queers and nothing we know gets better than this" - the gluttonous American destiny. The protagonist in Nowhere Grind has been "globalized and dehumanized" which gives you an idea where the Hickman are coming from. They are a band as influenced by the Clash's social awareness as much as Merle Haggard's social observation while at the same time being aware of their Rock and Roll Heart. That they deliver these lyrics over a set of well thought out songs that will soon have your feet tapping as well as you, hopefully, thinking. Musically this is a very accomplished outfit. The five piece band have a loose liaison that comes from playing together and from friendship and adds a natural warmth to the songs. Here they are joined by some guests including Mickey Raphael on harmonica and Lee Stein on accordion. They can deliver uptempo songs like the twangy Nothin' Bad as well well rounded ballads like Santa Ana Wind and No One Cried. What About Jay? is a song that looks at the life of a soldier and the consequences that he has to face for making that choice and someone else's orders. Walk On Water opens with a fundamentalist preacher's voice spreading what seems to be some very uncharitable views on anything that seems different. The general attitude of the album can be summed up on Messed Up World which using another guest Ben Decter's organ sound to underpin it's message. The album closes with Walk Out West which looks at the decline of a landscape and way of life taken over by coffee shops and shopping malls and remembers what the West once was. Despite the pessimistic viewpoints the music and album has an uplifting groove that draws you back to take that walk out west or any other direction that music can take you.