One Horse Town
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One Horse Town

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The best kept secret in music


"One Horse Town is drenched in classic outlaw country"

Country music exists in a perpetual cycle of renewed public interest. The genre's intriguing calling cards of late include a 12 percent sales increase in 2003; the death of uber-icon Johnny Cash; a patriotic fued between Toby Keith and the Dixie Chicks; and rap-metal star Kid Rock being the cowboy he's always wanted to be with pals Hank Williams Jr. and Kenny Chesney. Alt-country rockers and blugrass purists alike continue to draw high praise. Then there's the Santa Rosa-based band One Horse Town. Veterans of popular Sonoma County rock, jazz, and country bands such as Nuisance, Cropduster, The Conspiracy, and Scenic Drive, these superb musician-scholars have come together to specialize in self-described "classic, outlaw country" - the rowdy and rugged songs of such honky-tonk and country-rock pioneers as Cash, Hank Williams Sr., Webb Pierce, Willie Nelson, Gram Parsons, and Waylon Jennings. From this rich barrelful of source material, OHT have and even deeper focus: given the country staples of drinking, cheating, rambling and hell-raising, they really just prefer drinking. There's a brilliant drinking-song sequence in the middle of the band's newly-released disc, Back to the Country. They create a virtual short story of alcoholic ecstasy and remorse, running from Tom T. Hall's jovial waltz-time "I Like Beer" (hard to mess up) to Merle Haggard's weekend-warrior rave-up "Working Man's Blues" to the obscure but resonant ballad "Lifetime to Prove" by BR-549 (as mature as a country regret song gets). Back to the Country also boasts charming and frisky originals like "Wild Life," "Gettin' Loaded," and "Liar's Dice," which would make smart album cuts for any current country chart-topper. You can catch country's past and future hits at One Horse Town's CD release party this weekend. Also performing will be alt-country band The Spindles and solo acoustic songstress Lila Cugini. Saturday, Jan. 31, at 9:30 pm. Michele's Restaurant/ Nighclub, 521 Adams St. Santa Rosa, CA. $5. 707.542.2577

- Sonoma County Bohemian, January 2004, Karl Byrn


One Horse Town - Back to the Country L.P. 2004
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