The Drunk Uncles
The Drunk Uncles have so fully absorbed classic, hardcore honky-tonk country that they really do sound like a mid-’60s band from Bakersfield on their new CD Smashed Hits. (That they placed a cover of Buck Owens’ “Tiger by the Tail” as the first track and used an image of a red, white, and blue guitar, just like Owens played, reinforces the impression.) They dig deep into the catalog of mid-century country and pull out chestnuts by Hank Thompson (“Rednecks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer,” “On Tap, in the Can, or in the Bottle”) and Tom T. Hall (“Me and Jesus”) and complement those covers with a handful of 90-proof barstool originals by guitarists/vocalists Jeff Barbra and Mike McGill. There’s an unexpectedly pretty version of Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds,” recorded with the Naughty Knots, but other than that there are no surprises here—just straight-up country as hard as the liquor that seems to have inspired it.