Scott Goes to Bed with the Mother Truckers

the-mother-truckers.jpg

The Mother TruckersLet’s All Go To Bed
Funzalo Records

Hailing from Austin, Texas, the Mother Truckers sing a sort of amped-up, sky-high octane Americana which blends country, blues and rock into one unholy hellspawn of a creation that should send parents running full-bore for the best place to hide and draw young’uns straight to them, hormones a-ragin’. That the band hasn’t been able to break through to the mainstream yet should make radio execs and record labels hang their head in shame. In a time when plastic, fake, Pro-Tooled-to-death artists succeed simply by surviving Paula Abdul’s drunken hallucinations, you’re going to tell me a band writing its’ own great songs and playing the hell out of their own instruments and making incredible music doesn’t have the right stuff to make it?

Bullshit, is what it is, but like true rock and rollers (albeit with a crazy Redneck-country edge) they soldier on anyway and gather fans one album and one show at a time. An Americana email list I belong to simply can’t get enough of them and email about their gigs all the time – as well people should. People can say country-rock has been done by Skynyrd and Hatchett, and 38 Special and all those other bands, why should we care about it now? I would say, number one, because the band just does it so damn well. Then, number two, is we need this kind of music to succeed. Heartland rock, whatever you want to call it, written by people who are living the life the public lives. It’s why bands like The Jayhawks, Uncle Tupelo and their offspring Wilco and Son Volt became popular: bands singing honest songs about real life with no ostentatious trappings or extra adornments. The true test of a good song is if you can take all the extra crap away and play it on an acoustic guitar and see if it still connects with an audience. This band is able to do just that with their music.

Though the Mother Truckers is a full four-piece band, the core of the group are vocalist/guitarist Josh Zee and vocalist/guitarist Teal Collins, who also handle the songwriting chores as well. The other members of the band, drummer Dan Thompson and bassist Danny G. are no slouches either, ably acquitting themselves on their respective instruments. Zee is a music business vet, having recorded two albums for Sony Records subsidiary Work when he was singer/guitarist and songwriter for the band Protein. Though neither of Protein’s albums sold in great numbers, they were an up and coming band on the scene and managed to score a lot of attention and great opening slots and seemingly had a strong likelihood of success until the band’s breakup. Collins has had her share of big-time music business experience as well, earning gold records with artists Third Eye Blind and Motown’s Shanice. After meeting at an open-mic night a few years ago, the Mother Truckers were born.

This album sees The Mother Truckers rocking even harder than ever and features Zee reuniting with Protein drummer Dan Thompson. Though the band is not breaking any new ground as far as their music and lyrical presentation are concerned, this is music for a good time and I don’t think there’s enough of that in today’s music scene. Everyone’s looking for a higher concept and the big statement – whatever happened to bands like AC/DC and Skynyrd who just knew how to bring the rawk when it needed to be brought? These songs will rock the hell out of you and thank god. With people mortgaging their homes for gasoline to get to their jobs (the lucky ones who are able to keep their homes, anyway) I think a return to a music-as-fun aesthetic is necessary right now. Rawk is king and the Mother Truckers are baaaaaad Mother Fuckers, alright?

Anyone who likes raunchy rock and roll is going to enjoy this album immensely. There is no artifice to this CD, and no higher concept – just rock and roll the way it was meant to be played and lots of it. This is music you can drink to, fight to, and throw on at your backyard Bar-B-Q where everyone can hear it. It’s best heard loud, but I believe you can put this on at any volume and have a great time with it. So do that, okay?

You can listen to some of their stuff on their MySpace page at http://www.myspace.com/themothertruckers or check out their website at http://themothertruckers.com/

Scott Homewood