The Domino Kings – Life and 20

Life and 20

The Domino Kings are (if such a thing still exists) honky-tonk kings. If you like your music with that Bakersfield kick, look no further. Stevie Newman breathes new life into country guitar, the kind of I haven’t heard since Pete Anderson was regularly lighting up Dwight Yoakam songs with sonic forays based in the playing of folks like Don Rich, but broke lots of new ground too.

If you don’t believe me, you don’t have far to go on the CD to hear it. Check out the one and two-note bends on the opener, “Borrow a Lie.” It’s honky-tonk heaven. “Will He Be” starts with some awesome twang, and before the song is over, Newman has delved into the swampy sound of John Fogerty crossed with a wild-man country player. “Where Your Lies Stop” has a solo that mixes chords, hammer-ons, double-stops, and single-lines into a perfect guitar stew. If straight-ahead country chickin’ pickin’ is more your style, check out “The End of You.”

You get the idea. Newman knows the sound he wants, and he gets it. No mean feat in this day and age, when you’re playing country music.

The rest of the band is Brian Capps on bass and Les Gallier on drums. Capps and Newman share vocals. And they all get it. They understand what this style of music is all about and obviously lived it and soaked it in for quite some time.

If you’ve grown cynical because country music has become stale and boring, check these guys out. They’ll adjust your attitude.

This review originally appeared in VG‘s Mar. ’01 issue.

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