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J.B. Beverley & The Wayward Drifters - 'Watch America Roll By'

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J.B. Beverley & The Wayward Drifters - 'Watch America Roll By'

J.B. Beverley & The Wayward Drifters - 'Watch America Roll By'

Helltrain Records

Watch America Roll By Bottom Line:

Not too long ago I made the observation that a lot of today's "retro" sounding music is being made by people who are too young to remember the fifties. That crisp, honest, crackling rockabilly sound was something folks my age came to embrace as a part of a time our parents glorified and gave to us cleaner and prettier than it was, but we made that music into our own, "retrobilly," if you will; a true and honest roots sound that J.B. Beverley and his Wayward Drifters capture effortlessly, making it raw and real, and wholly contemporary.

Some History:

J.B. Beverley was born in 1977, right in the middle of a "retro" period; kids at the time watched "Happy Days" on television with the assumption that this was exactly like things were back then. We loved the ducktail hair and the peg leg pants, the Cuban heels and the poodle skirts, and mostly, we loved the music. We came to embrace Sun Sessions Elvis, Buddy Holly, "the Killer" Jerry Lee, and Bill Haley; we rocked to these sounds because what was hitting our radios didn't appeal to that yearning.

J.B. delved into old-school punk in the 90's, a natural path for someone growing up in the time when American radio cleaned up punk the same way it urbanized country. When his punk band, The Bad Habits, broke up in 1996, Beverley drifted some; mostly he stuck to punk until he put together the Wayward Drifters and reached for those "retro" roots. The Drifters toured with Hank III, played with greats like Wayne "The Train" Hancock, then, after making a name for themselves as a live group, hit the studio to record their debut disc, Dark Bar & A Juke Box. They've been touring pretty much non-stop throughout the US and in Europe, working on filming a documentary about the group. In all, he's kept busy. Now with the release of Watch America Roll By, J.B. once again presents us with some amazing, full-out retrobilly, traditional, hard-edged, and brilliant. Contemporary retro, rockabilly for our generation.

Watch America Roll By The Music:

With 12 self-written songs, Watch America Roll By is sharp, going with a classic three- instrument element of traditional rockabilly (acoustic guitar and upright "doghouse" bass, but instead of an electric lead the Wayward Drifters use a banjo/mandolin/dobro blend), starting out with that unmistakable thumpa-thumpa-thumpa from that doghouse, a sound that's so indelibly mixed with this music it can't be confused with anything else. Beverley's got a crisp, almost high- lonesome tenor, giving him a classic Hank feel; and of course, in true rockabilly tradition, Beverley himself plays the acoustic guitar.

His Wayward Drifters are Dan "Banjerdan" Mazer handling the other strings and Johnny Lawless on the doghouse, with guest musicians Jayke Orvis on mandolin, Dan Hovey on the Telecaster (I knew I heard a hint of something plugged in) and steel, Big Geo Ballentine on pedal steel, Patrick McAvinue on fiddle, Joel Kamins on backup vocals, and also the .357 String Band adding voices. There are no drums.

The whole is a road trip album, chugging out reliable rockabilly tunes starting out with the powerful, eminently danceable "Interstate Blues" followed by the title track. He two-steps in an old mountain style with "Walked Across Texas," a steady doghouse beat teamed with some light steel and bluesy banjo. There's some bright humor in the uptempo "They'll Only Play My Music (When I'm Dead)" and the bouncing, surprisingly lighthearted "Thank You For Giving Me The Blues." And if you're concerned it's not contemporary music, just listen to the lyrics of "Drug Train." This is music for our time, it's now and it's pure; it's exactly what lovers of roots music are looking for. 'Watch America Roll By' closes with the sweet "Favorite Waste of Time," a mournful love song that makes solid use of the fiddle and some superior guitar picking. You won't miss the drums at all.

Release Date: May 5, 2009 - Label: Helltrain Records

Watch America Roll By Track List:

  1. "Interstate Blues"
  2. "Watch America Roll By"
  3. "Walked Across Texas"
  4. "They'll Only Play My Music (When I'm Dead)"
  5. "Me & My Blues"
  6. "I Don't Give A Damn"
  7. "Thank You For Giving Me The Blues"
  8. "Gonna Ride A Train"
  9. "End Of The Road"
  10. "Drug Train"
  11. "Don't Need No One"
  12. "Favorite Waste Of Time"
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