Red Hot Blue Collar Honky Tonkin’ Rock & Roll.
Every now and again I use my I-Phone as a radio in the car; hitting ‘random’ and letting the fates choose my soundtrack for the journey to or from work. It’s been a fascinating aid over the last few years; helping me sort the wheat from the chaff when it comes to selecting albums to review; and finding me a few absolute diamonds that otherwise may have been missed.
Such is the case with the latest release by Ben Bostick from South Carolina; even though I have an unreviewed copy of his self-titled debut album hauntingly sitting above my desk at this very moment.
HELLFIRE starts with a growl; as No Show Blues takes us on a late night walk into the dark side of town where only the very brave stay. Dirty guitars, a raggedy honky-tonk piano and bass/drum combo that sound like they spent the day stripping down stolen Harleys combine with Bostick’s world weary and greasy voice to create a glorious noise that instantly ensnared me last Thursday night.
The title track Hellfire follows and is a whole lot more toe-tappin’ as it’s Bakersfield in origin and and sounds like it was written after a night drinking Sour Mash and listening to Waylon and Jerry Lee records right through to sun up.
Ben Bostick and Band crank up the tension that comes from the type of love very few of us have ever experienced on a couple of belters that will stay in the memory for a long, long time…….Blow Off Some Steam features some truly sizzling Twang guitar in the style of Redd Volkaert or Luther Perkins and on The Other Side of Wrong they make Jerry Lee Lewis sound like a choirboy!
There’s a fizzing excitement on this album right from the very beginning to the gloriously brooding final track The Outsider which is as scary a Rock & Roll song as I’ve heard this side of the first time I heard Psycho Killer!
Everything here sounds like it was recorded in one take, with no soft overdubs or last minute additions to appease the men in suits; It Ain’t Cheap Being Poor and How Much Lower Can I Go are deceptively simple Country drenched Rock & Roll songs that must sound exactly the same when played live after a night on the beer with whisky chasers, with sweat not just running down Bostick’s forehead but the walls of the club too.
Where to go for a ‘Favourite Track’? The Feeling Mean with it’s Gene Vincent undertones was an early contender, as was the Blue Collar Country Twang of No Good Fool but I’m closing my eyes and picking the glorious Work, Sleep, Repeat as it was the first song I heard that night in the car after an 11 hour shift at work in the hot cab of a bus; and it fit my mood perfectly.
Ben Bostick has created an album here that comfortably sits in several camps; Alt. Country, Rock & Roll, Countrypolitan and best of all Classic Country and will appeal to fans of all those genres.
Released June 27th 2018