The Liabilities
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The Liabilities

Band Rock Americana

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


On stage, The Liabilities put on fire-breathing, high-speed live performances where they bust Hell wide open and force the fear of an unlived life right up your ass. That might be an ugly image but it’s a holy feeling, and truthfully, the first time through the CD, I missed that sensation. Then another go round, I got it. Those smoky nights at the bar have been distilled and transformed through stories and sentiments far more powerful than rattling the room with a resounding boom. The lyrics come forward in a way that was heretofore impossible because their on-stage charisma is so damn formidable. Oh shit. This is dangerous. This music, though just a beginning, has two stand alone sides that can’t stand to be alone, depending instead on each other to create tight spaces where the heart beats wildly. And this is what it’ll be like from here on out: The more this CD spins, the more their live shows will kick ass because I’ll be singing along and not just shaking violently, and then every time I listen to the CD, the more I’ll thirst for another live show. If only more of my problems were like this. - The 11th Hour




Hummingbird Review of The Liabilities

From the wonderful Hummingbird website: www.hummingbirdstageandtaproom.com

The saviors of ROCK just happened to be right under our noses. Taking their cues from The Ramones, Steve Earle, Social D, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, Sr., somehow this band has taken what was forgotten and made it something you will not be able to deny. It's like a good ass-whippin' helps you remember you're alive. Loud, slick (the hair, not the music) and itchin' for a fight...navel-gazers beware! - The Hummingbird, Macon GA




Amped Review of Aaron Irons

This comes from Maggie Large's Amped column for the Macon Telegraph:

Thursday's show at the Capitol felt, in a lot of ways, like the new school and the old school shaking hands. Both headliner Larry Jon Wilson and opener Aaron Irons are Georgia singer-songwriters; they're separated by about forty years. One's starting to come into his own, while the other is slowly mounting a comeback.

Some may know Aaron as one of the capable bartenders at the Hummingbird. I'm not just saying that so he won't spit in my beer, really. I'd been meaning to catch his band (Aaron Irons and the Liabilities) but hadn't been able to just yet. So I was definitely interested in hearing what he had to offer. Plus I wanted to see if the Capitol's sound system had improved any: the answer is yes times a thousand.

I really liked his songs. His voice reminded me a little bit of John Prine's or maybe Steve Earle's. The melodies were clear and simple and the lyrics-- I think those were the best part. There were murder ballads, love songs, heartbreak songs and road songs. Some of my favorite lyrics: "I'm just a poster boy for/Things blowing up in your face," "Who the hell do I have to kill/To get the death penalty?" "I'd spend all my money on caviar and cocaine/And I wouldn't remember how you broke my heart today."

He played a few covers-- a Springsteen tune and one by Catherine Irwin, who used to be in Freakwater. With just the acoustic guitar, it was the kind of music you'd hear some lonely soul playing on a porch in the summer evening.

Note:"I'd spend all my money on caviar and cocaine/And I wouldn't remember how you broke my heart today."-- Charlie Robison from "Sunset Blvd." - Macon Telegraph


So, The Liabilities look like a gang of shiftless ne'er-do-wells and probably are, but as local bands go, they make me proud to be from Macon. At their shows, the ladies come out and they dance, shakin' and bakin' until everyone's sweaty and breathing heavy. In short, the Liabilities are: a gift that never stops giving, a burr in the saddle, a good joke about the pope, a bobble-body doll, some booze at a Sunday dinner on the grounds, a bad case of the runs, a way of life on the wayside, a box of rubbers meeting the road and the leading cause of pomade overdose in young, white men age 21-35 in America. Amen. -- Chris Horne - The Eleventh Hour


Three Members of Macon's Liabilities have slithered, like cagey honky-tonk lounge lizards, from the remains of that much-lauded tsunami of alt-country and roots rock known as Hank Vegas. Aaron Irons(lead vocals, guitar), Justin Smith(bass) and Josh Smith(drums) left the comfort of a regional buzz act to follow their own crooked road, joined by fellow chameleon Brandon Fickler on lead guitar. But, judging from their debut full length, rather than bask on the warm rock that is your standard issued sepia-toned Americana, they seem to be restless barflies with a delightfully varied record collection. "Great Big Highway" opens the disc with the easy going but emphatic delivery of Steve Earle's gritty wanderlust. And just when you think you've got' em pegged, they jump styles from the mid-tempo("All I Got") to the Bakersfield country meets psychedelic back-porch indie ("Hey Mary"). And on it goes. "I Used to Know Her" echoes the break-neck strum and jangle of North Carolina-by-New York dB's at their peak. Rockabilly, rock and country drive "Barbwire and Bone" to a stomping conclusion, only to be spun around and slammed into the overdriven Neil Young meets The Longriders territory("My Mechanic"). Hard scrabble times, fueled by cigarettes, booze and salutes to punk rock saints The Ramones round out the disc, proving the Liabilities to be a valuable and refreshingly unpredictable asset to the ever-changing southern rock landscape.

-Lee Valentine Smith - Georgia Music MAgazine


The Liabilities slice their way through Georgia

By David Eduardo

One gets the feeling immediately, even before hitting play, that the switchblades gracing the cover of their self-titled and independently released debut are, essentially, a warning: The Liabilities are not afraid to cut to the bone or cut to the chase when it comes to rock 'n' roll. There's a dash of snarl and a touch of redneck in this Macon-based band and it's double-parked at an anonymous truck stop-contemplating something felonious.

After blasting through the album, listeners will notice The Liabilities have referenced cigarettes in some form or fashion at least a half dozen times. Whether brand name-checking Marlboro and Lucky Strikes or sharing visions of females dancing in clouds of second-hand fumes, the quartet's affinity for rolled tobacco is curiously (and obviously) prevalent in the lyrics.

One has to wonder if the group is being bankrolled by Big Tobacco and its wealth of convincing lobbyists and immeasurable resources. "You know, that was actually a target of discussion," shares frontman and guitarist Aaron Irons, before adding, "They just come out that way. You write about what you know. I smoke, so that comes out." So, if he was down to his last three dollars would Irons buy a gallon of gas, a couple pounds of ground beef, 40 ounces of malt liquor or a pack of smokes? Opting to go out on the 'none of the above' limb, Irons admits with a laugh, "Luckily, I work at a bar, so I'd probably buy a comic book."

The band, rounded out by bassist Justin Smith, lead guitarist Brandon Fickler and drummer Brad Fickler, has been knocking around middle Georgia (and beyond) for a little more than a year and the momentum is undeniable - even if their motivation is, well, standard.

Aside from cigarettes, angst, drinking and women dominate the Southern punk rock storylines. For a dose of the angst and apathy associated with feeling stuck in a undesirable location or quicksand situation, listen to "Reason for this Town" or "My Mechanic," two songs that borrow a nickel from Nashville and a dollar from 1980's hair balladeers but cash in when conveying legit listlessness.

"A lot of times it doesn't matter where you are - it's what you're doing, or not doing ... Because we're human we have to blame something - it's easy to blame the place," says Irons.

As for the women that find their way into the Liabilities' lyrics, Irons admits, "Once you've written a song about a woman - that's all you're gonna get out of her. I hate to sound misogynistic ... Sometimes the women in our songs are an amalgamation of those I've known. Some are real and sometimes there's enough fiction to make it a good story." - Athens-Banner Herald


Discography

The Liabilities (2006)

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

When you were born in the Appalachian overcast of West Virginia, transplanted to the heart of Georgia as a boy in a working man’s family, raised on the timeless 50’s tunes that jumpstarted rock and roll and given a guitar as a young teen with rebel dreams, cutting your teeth playing rockabilly in a college town would only seem right. And while you make a few fans and learn your way around the barstools, a wrench gets thrown and knocks you into a couple of surf-savvy punk players. Next thing you know, you’ve traded your blue collar for a spiked one and you are in a trio pining for the shadow of the Ramones. But dirt under the fingernails don’t disappear easy, and Aaron Irons had stories to tell. As a songwriter, country often came to the surface. So he took a gig as a guitarist in an alt. country Macon, Ga. outfit called Hank Vegas and found himself opening for Billy Joe Shaver and the Drive-by Truckers.

Fellow Hank Vegas members, brothers Justin and Josh Smith, woke up on Saturday mornings to their music enthusiast father blasting Lynyrd Skynrd. With a jazz trumpeter grandfather and a dad who experienced some mild success as a California guitarist, playing an instrument was almost fated. Justin met Aaron when they were both working at a Milledgeville, GA pub. It soon became evident that Aaron, with his slick back widows’ peak and scuffed-toe talent, was a shoe-in for the spilt whiskey stage of Hank Vegas – who although green, had wound its way to college radio and created a buzz in the live music scene. But ultimately Hank Vegas would return to its solo-act studio origin, leaving Aaron, Justin and Josh in search of new gig. For Aaron, it signaled the opportunity to assume frontman of his own act. For Justin and Josh, it was a chance to try something new. The brothers also knew of a guitar prodigy-of -sorts from their hometown, Brandon Fickler, who was looking for something to do outside his engineering career. It just so happened that the four of them were on the same style sheet – and with rockabilly, punk, country and Southern roots, they were ready to make their own honest rock and roll.

The Liabilities dug underground and surfaced with a gamut that transitions from barbed-wire country to pistol-whipped punk. Fired between it all are the butane-fueled riffs of rockabilly to psychedelia/surfer reverb and nostalgia of 60’s garage bands-gone-by. Gelling it all together is the band’s hard-thought, hard-fought lyrics for the everyman in us all. “Most rockabilly lyrics – although I love the music and listen to it everyday – are about as deep as a puddle,” says Aaron. “On the other hand, a lot of punk songs – that are in the same vein as rockabilly music – are usually more simple and straightforward music, whereas their lyrics go a lot deeper. And country, of course, is as elaborate as you want it to be and as simple as it needs to be. So, we’ve managed to take from all of that.”

“It’s very blue-collar rock,” adds Justin. “It’s nothing too fancy, but it’s not too simple it hurts.”

They cut their first demo in Spring 2006 with engineer Drew LeClaire in Columbia, SC. “Great Big Highway” walks the line between well-oiled country and vintage garage rock and captures the story of a small town hopeful who finds himself working on the road he thought would take him to bigger things. “My Mechanic” is a pure country ballad with a heart-rending waltz through personal family pain. The song also showcases Brandon’s elaborate guitar work – something his bandmates say often takes center stage, leaving them and their audience in awe. “One Battle” is their anti-establishment fight-song, a straight-faced, rollicking punk rock anthem.

A full-length album is planned for fall 2006 in addition to future dates. And where you find The Liabilities, you are guaranteed to find honky-tonkers amongst head-bangers, punk kids among country folk, greasers amongst wranglers – and rock and roll for them all.