Hillbilly Idol

Hillbilly Idol

I love this record. You don’t really think of great country music as coming out of Cleveland, but this would be the exception to that rule. Whether it’s honky-tonk, country swing, pop-like country, or even a polka, these boys can do it up right. I guess in this day and age, this is called alternative country, which I find somewhat ironic since it just sounds like the real deal to me.

The band features Paul Kovac on vocals, acoustic guitars, banjo and mandolin, Dave Huddleston on vocal and lead guitar, and Al Moss on pedal steel. A quick listen to stuff like “No Time Like the Past” shows they know what they’re doing. An intro that has the guitar and pedal steel intertwining like they were born together leads to a great lyric and vocal. By the time it’s done, Huddleston’s taken a solo that would make Don Rich smile. You get the idea.

And they’re well-schooled in lots of areas; “Dixie Highway Home” features their bluegrass side. An instrumental cover of the jazz chestnut “Four Brothers” lets Moss shine on pedal steel, while the rhythm section of Bill Watson on bass and Scott Flowers on drums lead the way. “Hillbilly Polka” is a charming tale that highlights guitar – and yes, accordion. “Hurt Heart Broke” is swingin’ rockabilly with a great lyric, and for good measure there’s even an instrumental thrown in that sounds like the theme from a spy flick (“Sirocco”). An excellent CD by fellas with an obvious love of country music.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s July ’02 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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