Old Dollar Bill.

This debut album from the Edinburgh based country duo, Old Dollar Bill is a definite progression from their EP Cheap But Sweet released last year. While the EP was composed of Steve Earle covers and songs lifted from Springsteen’s Seeger project here we have a collection of songs all composed by the band themselves. While the Earle influence remains evident (on Friendly Fire for example) they can hold their head high with this offering. For a two-man band (with additional support on piano, accordion and fiddle from friends) they can certainly whip up a storm, guitars, mandolins and banjos whip and flail throughout. Clark carries most of the vocals in a convincing manner while Henry adds just the right touch of percussion with one track in particular, the instrumental Bill’s Ruckus where he thunders away to great effect using a Brazilian Surdo drum and 2 or 3 bass drums.
While there are obvious debts to the likes of Ry Cooder and the Band (Levon Helm in particular) the songs in the main stand up to scrutiny. Romance, booze, the Devil and booze again all feature. Of the drinking songs Me And My Wine is a wonderful boozy waltz while Drink With Me is a particularly tuneful country pop song that one can imagine Gram Parsons could have crooned. Clark’s vocals almost match some of Parsons’ southern nuance with a hint of the Stones’ country leanings and the piano playing (by Neil Pearlman) adds a wonderful honky tonk feel. I Swear I Killed My Liver (Over You), apart from earning points for its wonderful title is a classic country drinking song delivered with gusto. Befitting their urban hillbilly attitude Cousin Kelly is chock full of tasty licks and feisty fiddle playing while Henry’s vocals capture the housing scheme day time TV attitude perfectly. Caroline (The Devil’s Bride) is a tale of a young man humbled when the tables are turned and he feels used and abused by a flighty female. On a lighter note there is the sweet and sour tale of the singer’s admiration for a waitress on Tables For You while the final song Throw in The Towel fires on all cylinders. Clark spits out the words while his mandolin and Dobro spark against each other in a song that the Pogues might have been proud to have penned.
Old Dollar Bill appear regularly in Edinburgh, hopefully they will be over here in the west to see if they can carry these songs off as successfully as they do on the album. Check out Ike Sheldon of The Wilders endorsement on the image above, just about says it all I reckon.
Website here
Listen to Drink With Me

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  1. Pingback: Cool Graffiti New York images | The Urban PhotoJournal

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