So I was listening to WKNC during a radio show about country music released from the 1920’s through the 1970’s, and I heard the funniest country and western song I’ve ever heard: David Alan Coe’s “Dakota the Dancing Bear Part 2.” It’s a rollicking, ridiculous, good-humored bit of country storytelling that has to be heard to be believed. Whiskey Shivers could get along with Coe quite nicely, as their self-titled album reps the old-school country and western sound with a gutbusting sense of humor.
The band has mad chops: they throw down rolling, fingerpicked banjo; swooping violin; upright bass; earnest vocals; and even some whistling. And instead of employing them in the service of exclusively serious tunes, they mix up their lovelorn ballads with goofy tunes. The relatively modern sounding “Angel in the Snow” calls up the Avett Brothers at their country-est both in sadsack lyric and melodic style, while “Hot Party Dads” is a million bpm hoedown tune about …. the title. “Pray for Me” and “Long Low Down” bring that old school Southern Baptist gospel sound into the mix, while opener “Free” doesn’t take itself too seriously in its rapidfire delivery. (They’re really fond of playing as fast as possible, which is fun all its own–even if it isn’t explicitly humorous.) These guys would get along with The Parmesans really, really well.
Old school country and western is due for a glance from indie music; here’s to hoping that Whiskey Shivers find their people and make rowdy, alcohol-fueled string band music for a long time.