Andy Vaughan & The Driveline 'Long Gone' Self-Release

There are out there still a number of bands true to the spirit of Bakersfield, bar-room ballads, beleaguered honk-tonk and big Texas shuffles. One such band is Andy Vaughan and The Driveline, a five piece band who play like they mean it. The play a selection of song that are written by Vaughan (other than one co-write with guitarist Jerry Renshaw) and they are songs that are in line with expectations, songs of leaving, loving, drinking and regretting. The production doesn't have that Music Row gloss and polish but that doesn't deter from the fun that can be had listening to the album and tracks like Honky Tonk Devil, Too Much Thinkin', Long Gone and the obligatory pop at the current state of country radio in So Help Me Hank. The album closes with a more restrained version of the Utah Philips' song Rock Salt and Nails that brings (what I assume are family members) Jennifer Vaughan and Buzzy Vaughan on board on harmony vocals and mandolin respectively for a more acoustic version that shows a somewhat wider scope that they are capable of delivering should they want to. Throughout the five players who also include Tim Stanton on pedal steel, Chip Farnsworth on drums and bassist Erik Kutzler put their heart into this music they obviously love and inhabit. There's nothing new here, no great innovation but then how could there be? This is about honouring and preserving a musical style while at the same time keeping it alive with new songs, committed playing and singing that not only remind the listener of earlier times but of (hopefully) better times to come. If you liked early Derailers or many of those bands like Red Meat that emerged over the last twenty years or so then this Richmond, Virginia band is well worth checking out.