You can smell the diesel as soon as the music starts pouring out of the speakers! Kirchen is a master guitarist who spent time with Commander Cody, a batch of friends called the Twangbangers, and several solo efforts for Hightone.
This is a compilation of the Twangbangers and Hightone stuff. There’s not a lot of surprises, and that’s the way we like it. You’ll find pure Tele heaven on cuts like “Looking at the World Through a Windshield,” “Little Bitty Record,” “Dim Lights, Thick Smoke,” and not one, but two live versions of “Hot Rod Lincoln” that feature Kirchen and his trusty Tele referencing everyone from Johnny Cash to Chuck Berry to Elmore James to Link Wray to Cream to the Beatles to Hendrix. And, that’s only about 1/5 of the artists he cites. There’s a lot of truck-drivin’ music, to be sure, but another killer is the nearly-six-minute version of Dylan’s “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues.” Kirchen sings with just the right feel, and his solo is a marvel unto itself. Soulful double-stops mix with twangy open-string pull-offs and plain-old rock and roll guitar that’ll keep you smiling.
If you’re unfamiliar with Kirchen’s work, this is a good place to start. There’s not a bad cut, though there is a warning that reads, “Warning: contains over 171?2 minutes of Hot Rod Lincoln.” If you can deal with that, and you’ll love this record.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s March ’06 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.