Bill’s no stranger to country music, having anchored the lead guitar slot in Commander Cody’s Lost Planet Airmen way back when. Since the break-up of that band, he’s been around plenty too, and the skill and experience show on this great album.
If you’re in a country band, you could pretty much learn cuts one through 12, and have an entire set of great music for folks to listen to and dance to. Plus, you’d develop some pretty good country chops, too.
There’s lots of truckin’ songs on here, as you might figure out by looking at the title of the album. And the first one’s a doozy. It’s called “Truck Stop at the End of the World,” and it’s kind of a Rod Serling-meets-Dave Dudley thing. Something the Commander would’ve played in his heyday. Chorused twang as an 18-wheeler meets the apocalypse, head-on. “Quit Feelin’ Sorry For You” swings with a vengeance, and lets Kirchen showcase his country chops in both a single-line solo, and a finger-picked Carl Perkin’s-style chord solo. “Dim Lights, Thick Smoke” is a honky-tonk tune with a killer hook.
“Tryin’ to Turn Her Memory Off” is a great country drinkin’ song, complete with a nasty solo with perfect tone. “Prison Band” is the tale of a guy playing guitar behind bars with the band and is filled with nice double-stops and killer bends. “Poultry in Motion” is an aptly-titled instrumental. Some fine chickin’ pickin’ and monster soloing.
Things wrap up with a fine version of Bob Dylan’s “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” that features soaring, heavily-delayed soloing that would make any late-’60s rocker smile.
I can’t say enough about this one. I mentioned a lot of the cuts above, but there really isn’t a bad one in the bunch. Great tunes, great playing by all concerned, especially Kirchen, and one hell of a good time.
This review originally appeared in VG‘s Nov. ’01 issue.