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#10: Dustbowlers – Songs and Blues

June 17, 2008

I had originally intended for this to be the first of the Myspace song profile reviews, where I pick three or four or five artists off of my f-list on Myspace and review a song or two or five from their profiles…
then I fell behind.

I’m finally getting to the Dustbowlers‘ 2006 release, Songs and Blues. I’ve been listening to this album off and on for awhile and really letting it digest, as this particular brand of folksy alt-country isn’t something I’m particularly accustomed.

Twang, accordion and strong bass lines abound in this 14 track work, and they work well. The album, written by vocalist/guitarist Tim Penney over the course of two years of traveling, definitely sound like reflection of road life and feel like they should be placed over a desert driving montage for a modern remake of Over the Top, this time starring Paul Walker (just an idea…) The album is definitely thematic and stylistically unified in a way that makes it a very easy listen. Penney’s lyrics paint a very real picture of truck stop and bar experiences on a canvas of folk, country and blues.

Unfortunately, Songs and Blues does suffer from some repetition and mediocre production quality. Penney’s writing and vocal style are excellent in small doses, but over the course of 14 tracks a few of the songs start to sound the same. While one track makes great placement of a lo-fi effect at its beginning, the use of the same effect a track or two later loses potency simply because it had already been done. The overall feel of the album is a bit muddy; enough for me to notice, but not so much that it ruins the album for me. I do think that the muddiness does lend itself to the monotony mentioned previously.

Still, if the DustbowlersSongs and Blues is any indication of what this band sounds like live, then I’d imagine that the Dustbowlers are a must see for any fan of alt-country or folk rock. The next show listed on their Myspace page is August 8th in Washington, D.C. They also have a couple tracks on their myspace, or you can check out Songs and Blues over at

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