Music News

On the Road

When Dave Hall of The Honky Tonk Hangovers sings about life in the big rig, he's not speaking from a childhood spent watching reruns of B.J. and the Bear. When he was a boy, he used to accompany his big brother, Steve, on runs in an eighteen-wheeler -- which explains the Hangovers' highway-scorched rendition of Red Sovine's trucker-country valentine "Girl on the Billboard." The song is just one of a dozen and a half on the group's sophomore full-length, Giant Country. But Hall -- along with fellow singer/guitarist Jeff Yeary, bassist Donnie Jerome and new drummer Gary LaDuke -- doesn't stick to just trucks: Trains, motorcycles and that bucking bronco called love are all recognized on the disc, a stew of rockabilly, country boogie and, naturally, honky-tonk spiked with a hint of that electrified Bakersfield sound. And although it rings with pedal steel, piano, saxophone, trumpet, harmonica and fiddle, Giant sports a little less shit-kicking and close harmonies than its predecessor, last year's Every Little Honky Tonk. That collection helped the quartet garner a nomination in the Country/Bluegrass/Roots category of 2003's Westword Music Awards. But don't let the easy-on-the-gas-pedal approach fool you: Live, the Hangovers have a reputation for causing spontaneous outbreaks of two-steppin', though the band insists that its newest barn burner, "The Kissing Song," was "written to inspire makeout riots at our shows." You can put that claim to the test on Saturday, February 28, at Herman's Hideaway, where the Hangovers will celebrate Giant's release along with fellow roots rockers the Trailer Park Playboys and G.T. & the Sidewinders (free tickets are available at www.honkytonkhangovers.com). Just don't blame Hall and crew if you wind up swapping spit and kicking it into tenth gear with a lot lizard.
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Jason Heller
Contact: Jason Heller