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John Doe and the Sadies - Country Club

John Doe and the Sadies

Country Club
(Yep Rock)

Take one of punk rock’s great laureates and mix with a celebrated Canadian combo that’s musically malleable and indefinable. Then let them loose on a wide-open range of country and Western classics along with a small handful of originals. Country Club is what you get. Doe has always danced back and forth across the lines of rootsy rock, twisted love ballads, and twangy testifying with his bands X and the countrified X side project the Knitters, while the Sadies’ Travis and Dallas Good are the progeny of Canadian country music royalty. So while all parties involved know and have treaded some of this territory, the magic in Country Club is the two camps together. Doe’s rich and textured voice is allowed to take center stage and deliver many of these songs with jaw-dropping effect, thanks to the Sadies’ unobtrusively beautiful, atmospheric playing behind him. They perfectly wring every drop of soulful regret from Larry Henley and Red Lane penned chestnut “Til I Get It Right,” and add a rangy, reverb-drenched, foreboding lonesomeness to Willie Nelson’s “Night Life.” They embellish Johnny Cash’s “I Still Miss Someone” while keeping the traditional Tennessee Three feel at the core. The original Sadies instrumentals like “Sudbury Nickel “ and “Pink Mountain Rag” prove this band to be right in line with Flat and Scruggs and Chet Atkins/Les Paul. And how country music is it that Doe co-wrote the romping “It Just Dawned On Me” with X/Knitters partner Exene Cervenka, who also just happens to be his ex-wife. There’s no autotune here and nothing that could ever be mistaken as MOR pop. All in all, it’s perfectly crafted collection that those thirsty for genuine country music will love. It’s well worth joining the club.

As an aside: A hot rumor of the last week has the Sadies recently recording with Neil Young for a tribute to the Band. If it’s true, these guys know how to pick musical collaborators, eh?

donny kutzbach

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