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"devils game review/daggerzine"

Stevie Tombstone
DEVILS GAME- (SAUSTEX MEDIA)-New collection featuring tunes from Stevie’s SECOND HAND SIN (13 tunes) and ACOUSTICA (4 tunes) cds……17 tunes in all and (there;’ some odd n’ sods on here (including a brilliant cover of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues”). While I had never heard his music before now, after hearing this, I wanna find all I can out there. Tombstone is a fantastic songwriter who dives head on into straight country, blues and some gospel too and he has a voice that is pure soul and grit. The spare tunes here , like the title track, “Breaking Me Down” and “Blade” showcase Tombstone’s soulful voice while the songs with fuller instrumentation add bit of violin (“Dark Shines Through”) and some pedal steel too (“Same Old Tune”). I think if this guy was ever looking for a touring partner he has one here in Portland in the form of Mike Damron (ex- I Can Lick Any S.O.B. in the House) who is another heart-on-the-sleeve guy writing some great music (just like Tombstone). Also, I dare anyone out there to find someone with a better side of sideburns than Tombstone. Go on…I dare ya’ - daggerzine 07

"devils game review/left of the dial"

Stevie Tombstone/Devil’s Game: Saustex
Filed under: Uncategorized — leftofthedialmag @ 6:16 pm

This is a compendium of sorts, joining two previous albums, “Acoustica” and “Sin” into a greater whole.” Don’t try to win/the devil’s game,” Stevie warns us on the opener, a bareboned affair resounding with grief and pain. The voice rings clear, and the Jacksonville whiskey and cocaine warning comes hard and honest. Still, “Highways Made to Run” finds him trading his guitar for the same set of sins, needles, and spoons, but he reminds us that we can’t let life slip by, especially in the dark abyss of lost love, Greyhound stations, and basement rooms. The production is lean, the attack focused, and the story shrouded in the unsimple experience of the streets of no name. “Tears” is all guitar– raw putty exploring the crossroads where he waits for his gal, who may also reappear on “Breaking Me Down.” She seems, well, very adept at chopping him off at the knees, breaking him down till he ends up on his own cross, enduring “a lesson of restraint.” The steel-guitar waves carry “Same Old Tune” into bar room cigarette prosody, revealing a story of radios dumping clichés on a man talking to himself. “Blade” hits us with the calm before the storm, the walls of clay, and the endless rain with “scenes of yesterday.” It’s all a bit vague, but the girl with the steel blue eyes seems to be the catalyst, setting the metaphors in motion. Is she the sleeping devil? Is she wielding the blade? Is she the painkiller or the pain?

There are a few live and under-produced broken dream songs about Georgia and New Orleans, strait razors, and tattoos, in which the pain present is all unintentional. The final arc of the discs wields newer tracks with visiting alumni from Georgia Satellites and Soul Asylum, forging a kind of late 1980’s roots pop that tastes like cigarettes and “searches for home.” The best moments include his world-weary version, without being histrionic, of “Folsom Prison Blues,” which comes off as both humming and humidified, not honky hardcore. That vibe is reserved for the whiskey blast of “So God Damned Lonesome” — a crushing, anthemic, dirty howl that seeks “salvation from the bottom of a glass.” Still, he ventures towards another path on “Old Wedding Ring,” another lost dog country fair for the man who seems to slip from lovers like a crumpled bag caught in the wind. Though he never seems to stretch his thematic envelope much, Tombstone does offer an unflinching, though sometimes one-dimensional look, at a Bukowski-meets-Cash life, though without the baggage of their history.
- left of the dial

"devils game review/lollipop"

Stevie Tombstone

Devil's Game (Saustex)
By Craig Regala

Not my beat overall, but shit, being a rock and roll guy means you've got some taste for roots rock, and this stuff is banged together from classic country and folk like much of the recent decade's or Americana. Sounds for real to me. It ain't like the guy's too worried about being "authentic," just good. If "Highways Made To Run" doesn't stick to your dome like Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone" or Paul K's "The Third Day Is The Worst," you got no top to yer head.

The big deal's in the tunes; you can figure out how to fake the form, but if you don't have the ability to write well and make it stick like you live today, it won't mean dick to anyone's life. Yeah, Devil's Game tangles up a couple related traditional forms, but it damn well absorbs and moves in the real world. Think about it: How much does life itself change? Not much: Same emotions, feelings, problems, and situations people have always had. Like many a lad who grew up out in the country and lit out for the big city, Stevie ran smack dab into punk rock. Thank little baby Jesus it was the good stuff. He absorbed the deep feelings and what-the-fuck honestly of just doing it via punk and applied it to his band then, The Tombstones, and his stuff now.

So if you listen to the or Americana stations on satellite radio, you've probably heard him. Shuffle Stevie's music with Nick Cave, Jimmie Dale Gilmour, Red Meat, Pin Monkey, hard country from George Jones, the Hanks (Sr. and III), especially the stuff that came up from Buck Owens. Add death ballads from Chris Whitley, Neil Young, and Towns Van Zant. Go ahead and chuck in Two Cow Garage and Cross Canadians Ragweed's countried up rock, roll it tight, and get a good lung full. A couple punk rock oldies I wanna hear'm do: The Dead Boys' "Ain't It Fun" (returning the favor cuz Stiv covered one of his, "Nobody") and "The Flesh Eaters' "A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die." Best cover of Cash's "Fulsom Prison Blues" yet. If you like this, you'll like the previous album, 7:30 am, a bunch too, as long as the overt country as country parts don't irk you. So don't be a sissy" Like bourbon, it's smooth, as long as you can deal with the real stuff.
- lollipop magazine

"tombstones blues /houston"

Stevie is what Mike Ness would be if not for multi-thousand-dollar guarantees and 20 years of junkie mythology. He's legit, and you'll be hard-pressed to find legitimacy anywhere, let alone Saturday night in a Houston bar after three straight months of rain, for eight bucks. - houston press

"730am rod and kulture review"

Stevie Tombstone “7:30 AM” (Full Length CD) 2003 Saustex Media

There’s an old saying that’s something like “surround yourself with good people” like a good attorney, a good doctor and (probably not so much the case for the folks that read this magazine) a good mechanic. Well Stevie Tombstone took that old adage and customized it to him by surrounding him with a great pedal steel player, awesome bass and drums players, great fiddle player and pitch prefect backing vocalist. The “Texas Tombstones”, the “Arkansas Stranglers” and a small handful of others including Texacala Jones (from Tex and the Horseheads) and Ken Coomer (of Uncle Tupelo and Wilco fame) are the chosen people Stevie brought in to bring life to this incredible collection of songs.

“7:30 AM” is quite possibly a flawless example of country/ folk or “alt” country music in its finest form. The musicianship is top shelf and the lyrics are hauntingly familiar even on the first listen. The opening track “Can’t Go Back To Yesterday” is all about going back to the “green grass of home” and finding nothing the way you remember it, and stories of people coming home after war to a family that lost the farm due to bad luck and hard times. The lyrics are nothing short of poetry; Stevie has a story to tell and an incredible way of doing it. I love the pedal steel guitar on this song it just floats in the background the entire song and comes out and shines in a well-played run at the end of the song. The steel guitar keeps up pace with the next track “Something That I Never Thought I’d Be” it just dances over the chugging of the acoustic guitar and vocals. The slower pace dark acoustic song “The Lesson” is a sad tale about learning new lessons everyday and dealing with what you are dealt. With exceptional lyrics like “the right place at the wrong time that’s my story, seems I always get the loosing hand these days” again Stevie has a way to tell a story that is intriguing and interesting. Another fine example of his way with words is the song “Maybe” with the chorus “maybe I’m not all that you asked for, maybe I’m too much to understand, if the cigarettes and whiskey didn’t kill you, maybe I could lend a helping hand”. The title track “7:30 AM” closes the disk and is about my favorite on the record, it’s a mid tempo acoustic minimal instrumentation. The singing style is a little different from the rest of the record, it’s got a “Richard Buckner” kind of sound but Stevie definitely makes it his own. The bittersweet “Nothin’ Sweet About 16” is a tale all to often heard in the big city about a wayward girl from a small town and a broken home with “25 dollars and a matchbook” to her name hitting the streets of the big city. “Out on the streets tonight nothing sweet about sixteen” it’s a heartbreak song definitely, you can’t help but see the girl in your minds eye crying with her head in her hands.

I like to think of myself as being on the cutting edge sometimes and I like to think I can keep my ear to the ground and have my finger on the pulse of good music as it comes out. With that said somehow “7:30 AM” eluded me because it was released in 2003. I don’t know how a record this good could fly under my radar for about 4 years, I must have had my head under a rock for quite a while. Apparently I need Satellite radio because XM’s X-Country had this record for two months in it’s top ten and three weeks at number one. I might be late getting onboard here, but I’m staying on for the long haul now. With his incredible story-telling lyrics and perfect song crafting Stevie Tombstone is well on his way to being one of the great “outlaw” country artists of our time. - rod and kulture magazine


Stevie Tombstone - Devils Game
Saustex Media uit St. Antonia in Texas is zich aan het specialiseren in het heruitgeven van vergeten werk uit het einde van de jaren ’80, eind jaren ’90. Het is heel vaak mis. Dan hoor je direct waarom er is vergeten. The Tombstones zijn ook al eens revisited. Wim omschreef Twang From The Grave als onderhoudende psychobilly en cowpunk uit de oude doos. Zo kennen we voorman Stevie Tombstone ook, als een twangende punker met woorden over verdoemenis. Zo niet op Devils Game, bijna niet. Ik kwam niet op je pijn te doen, nee, ik kwam om je te vermoorden, zingt hij op I Didn’t Mean To Hurt You. Typisch maar gelukkig is er verder weinig typisch, al zijn er altijd stoere woorden. Devils Game is een samenvoegsel van Second Hand Sin uit 1999, Acoustica uit 2000 en enkele losse flodders (waaronder een totaal overbodige cover van Folsom Prison Blues). Second Hand Sin is de grote moot. Tombstone met zijn gitaar en sobere Texaanse begeleiding. Highways Made To Run lijkt als titel een ode aan Springsteen maar klinkt als een demo die John Mellencamp had moeten gebruiken, wel een Mellencamp die zijn oude gitaar heeft ingewisseld voor een naald en een lepel. Soms is het gewoon genoeg en dat heeft Tombstone of producer Jeff Johnson heel goed begrepen. De golvende melodie, de woorden van pijn en het ongekende hoge ruwe-bolster-blanke-pit-gehalte zijn afdoende. Acoustica zijn live-opnames van een optreden op het Atlanta Tattoo Arts Festival. Nog kaler dan wat vooraf ging maar net zo explosief. Tombstone blijkt het publiek met eenvoudige middelen aan zich te kunnen binnen. Zijn donkere, rauwe en stoere stemgeluid zijn al voldoende maar Tombstone heeft bovenal de gave om ogenschijnlijk heel eenvoudig een bloedmooie melodie tevoorschijn te toveren. Keer op keer op keer. (Patrick Donders) -

"devils game review americana uk"

Devils Game” is a collection of songs from out of print “Second Hand Sin” originally released in 1999 and “Acoustica” which was released in 2000. A mixture of tracks from the studio, live and additional odds and sods, it makes for an interesting album.

Tombstone’s voice is gruff but immediately appealing and his music incorporates a meld of country blues, gospel and alt-country. All the usual Americana themes are here; love, loss, hurt, regret, death and occasionally hope.

“Second Hand Sin” was originally produced by Jeff Johnson of Jason and the Scorchers and is largely biographical following the emergence of Tombstone from “a particularly dark period in my life”, which provided him with a mass of material to draw on. Nine tracks of which are included on this 17 track album.

The three live tracks included here, ‘Axeman of New Orleans’, ‘Til The Day I Die’ and ‘I Didn’t Mean To Hurt You’, were recorded in Atlanta and are taken from “Acoustica”. These demonstrate Tombstone’s versatility with little accompaniment except Tony Fox on sax and violins. And the sparseness make them all the better. ‘I Didn’t Mean To Hurt You’ is a misleading title; it appears to be a song of regret and apologies. But when Tombstone sings the words “I didn’t mean to hurt you, I meant to kill you”, you realise where he’s really coming from.

Happily Tombstone is now in a better place. With a marriage (to his bass player) and a new child it’s made him reassess his goals, “It’s not all about me anymore”. And this sounds like a good thing.

The bonus tracks feature guest appearances from members of Soul Asylum and Georgia Satellites, and Tombstone does a great Johnny Cash impression on ‘Folsom Prison Blues’.

So what of the future? Well he’s involved in two other projects alongside his solo stuff. The Hickoids and the Black Eyed Vermillion are both in the studio and Tombstone is doing the guitar parts, so expect more from this versatile singer songwriter.

Date review added: Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Reviewer: Phil Edwards
- americana u.k.

"allmusic devils game review"

Compiled from two earlier releases, Second Hand Sin and Acoustica, these selections by singer/songwriter Stevie Tombstone represent a heartfelt slice of Americana. A kindred spirit to Steve Earle or Paul K, if not as rough around the edges, Tombstone's music veers toward a more mainstream sound. His cover songs can be brilliant (as in his version of the Johnny Cash staple "Folsom Prison Blues"), but his original material is almost equally good. The forceful opener, "Devil's Game," and the final song of the cycle, "Christmas on Red River," could easily be found in the Cash songbook. The lyrics are honest, the music is memorable and well-performed, and the whole package is ready for radio play. The stark acoustic production of Second Hand Sin is by Jeff Johnson of Jason & the Scorchers, and it suits the selections beautifully. But, to balance things out, the material performed with a band is equally fine in such songs as the barnstorming "So God Damned Lonesome" and the harmonica-laced "Highways Made to Run." If ultimately not as distinctive as you might expect from a performer named Tombstone, the record is all the better for it. Unaffected and traditional with deep, sincere emotion, Devils Game is a fine collection from a genuine singer/songwriter who deserves a much wider audience than he currently has. - all music guide

"allmusic review 730 am"

Stevie Tombstone 730 a.m.
Review by Richie Unterberger

Stevie Tombstone sounds a little like a Tex-Mex/country/alt-folk Bruce Springsteen on much of 7:30 A.M., perhaps with a little Elvis Costello sprinkled in. His voice isn't as sandpapery as Springsteen's, but the tone of the Boss' starker and more somber work isn't too far removed from what Tombstone offers here, though in a far more country-influenced context. It's not only world-weary in ambience, but it's also territory that's well worn, with its looks back at times and moods that can't be recaptured, examinations of hard-earned life lessons, portraits of characters on the way down, and, of course, tales of heartbreak. Still, it's well done within its milieu, and though the mood is generally serious and downbeat, Tombstone does lighten up with some up-tempo honky-tonkin' beats on cuts like "Something That I Never Thought I'd Be," "Big Bad World," and "Murder City Breakdown" (which is much more musically upbeat than you'd guess from its title). -

"live review syracuse"

Sunday, March 30, 2008
By Mark Bialczak
Staff writer
There's a new country singer to reckon with on the Syracuse music scene.
Outlaw style, now cowboy style. The kind of country that XM radio throws an X in front of on its very own
X-Country channel.
Stevie Tombstone treated the capacity crowd Saturday night at the Redhouse to a sizzling set of alternative
country, sometimes crossing the road over to roots rock territory.
With tattoo-covered arms, long and slick hair, big sideburns and warm attitude, Tombstone demonstrated that
he's a songwriter, singer and guitarist of considerable stature. He's lived in Atlanta, Houston and Austin, and now
he calls Central New York home.
"Thanks for the welcome to Syracuse," Tombstone said to the very enthusiastic crowd. "I'm sure I'll be seeing you
Tombstone brought longtime guitarist collaborator Rick Richards to add electricity to his own acoustic tones. "My
homeboy," Tombstone called him.
His wife, Melissa Riggall Tombstone, played a memorable bass. "My better half. My very better half," Tombstone
said. Besides her top musicianship, the native of Marcellus is also the reason Tombstone moved here late last year.
Drummer Ron Thompson, familiar in these country music circles as drummer for Auburn band The Back Alley Boys,
provided the steady beat behind plexiglass on a simple snare-bass-and-cymbal set.
But before they all came out, Stevie Tombstone won over the crowd with a rough-and-tough solo rendition of a
mean love song, "Kevlar Heart." Take your best shot, world. You're not going to make a dent in this dude's
The band joined him for a strong country vibe on "Something I Never Thought I'd Be." From there, they served up
rich and tasty work from his last two CDs, "7:30 a.m." and "Devil's Game." Both title songs stick in your head like
they're radio staples - which they are, on the XM channel, where Stevie Tombstone is a regular on the play list. In
fact, the whole show from the Redhouse was recorded to be played on X-Country in its entirety soon.
Satellite radio fans will surely dig Tombstone's stories of life lived hard, full of characters with just enough
optimism and resolve to open their eyes the next morning.
"Same Old Tune," "Murder City Breakdown" and the song he delivered for a Johnny Cash tribute album, "Folsom
City Blues," surely had the Syracuse art house crowd yelping and whistling.
Try this out for a tough line: "If the cigarettes and whiskey don't kill you, maybe I can lend a hand," Tombstone
sang in "Maybe." But he kept a small smile on his face the whole time.
Mark Bialczak can be reached at or 470-2175. His blog is at
. - styacuse post standard

"allmusic review 730 am"

Stevie Tombstone 730 a.m.
Review by Richie Unterberger

Stevie Tombstone sounds a little like a Tex-Mex/country/alt-folk Bruce Springsteen on much of 7:30 A.M., perhaps with a little Elvis Costello sprinkled in. His voice isn't as sandpapery as Springsteen's, but the tone of the Boss' starker and more somber work isn't too far removed from what Tombstone offers here, though in a far more country-influenced context. It's not only world-weary in ambience, but it's also territory that's well worn, with its looks back at times and moods that can't be recaptured, examinations of hard-earned life lessons, portraits of characters on the way down, and, of course, tales of heartbreak. Still, it's well done within its milieu, and though the mood is generally serious and downbeat, Tombstone does lighten up with some up-tempo honky-tonkin' beats on cuts like "Something That I Never Thought I'd Be," "Big Bad World," and "Murder City Breakdown" (which is much more musically upbeat than you'd guess from its title). -


Solo Releases:
"Second Hand Sin" Hostage Records 1999
"Acoustica" Sacred Heart 2000
"7:30 a.m." Saustex 2003
"Dear Johnny" compilation Hairball 8 Records 2004
"Christmas On Red River" (radio single) Saustex 2005
"Devils Game" Saustex 2007



STEVIE TOMBSTONE Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist Born in rural Georgia, Stevie learned the ropes playing country blues and then punk/rock n roll as a youth in Atlanta. In the twenty-odd years since has become an accomplished performer, both solo and with his band. Stevie currently sports 2 full-length solo releases besides his published work with The Tombstones (Stevie's 1980's Gothabilly Band).
In his early days as a Tombstone, Stevie penned the collge radio anthem and regional hit "Nobody", which was later recorded by punk icon Stiv Bator. In the early 90's Stevie purchased a headstone to mark the alleged resting place of blues legend Robert Johnson. The episode created a good deal of controversy in the blues community, but was eventually swept under the rug by his erstwhile handlers.

Stevie left the Tombstones in the late 90's and toured as the supporting act for Jason & the Scorchers in Europe, opening the door for his solo career. Bouncing back and forth between Atlanta, Nashville and Austin in this era Stevie recorded the "Second Hand Sin" and "Acoustica" EP's and settled in Texas in mid-2000.

His full-length debut CD "7:30 am"(2003/Saustex) showcased his singing ability and continuing growth as a songwriter. The CD spent 6 weeks in the top ten of XM Radio's Channel 12 (X-Country) charts, including 2 weeks at 1. 2004 brought the the Cash tribute /compilation" DEAR JOHHNY" featuring Stevie's version of "Folsom Prison Blues" which received airplay and great reviews following its release. Stevie played a number of West Coast tour dates with Supersuckers frontman Eddie Spaghetti in support of the disc.
2006 found Stevie back at the helm of the Tombstones for a national tour to support the release of "Twang from the Grave"(2005/Saustex). This disc featured cuts from the '88 release "Preachin', Prayin', Guitar Playin", and spawned appearances on several compilations worldwide as well as two independent films introducing him to a whole new audience.
Stevie's bandmates over the years have been a veritable who's who of underground and nationally recognized players, featuring members of Circus of Power, Wilco, the Georgia Sattelites, Black Crowes, Jason & The Scorchers and Faster Pussycat. He has also had the honor of sharing the bill with the likes of Leon Russell,the Stray Cats, the Ramones, and Texacala Jones just to name a few. Calling Austin his home for the last 7 years, Stevie is currently working on tunes for his next solo release with Tombstones bassist and better half "Killene", as well as slinging a little guitar for cowpunk legends the Hickoids and crusty blues act Black Eyed Vermillion". His live shows feature tunes from "7:30 a.m.", a few Tombstones numbers and selected cuts from his just released "Devils Game" collection(2007/Saustex) which includes his 1999 release "Second Hand Sin", his 2000 live CD "Acoustica" and various odds and sods.