So far here, I've blogged about all groups hard-rock, heavy metal, gothic-rock, alternative, indie, and so on. But today I'm going to write about a group from a completely different sub-genre of rock. Out of Toronto, Canada, Dry County is a country-rock/southern-rock band with a hard edge and a southern sneer (which is kinda funny, because south of Canada is the northern U.S. lol).
Comprising members Jeff Gallagher (lead vocals), Randy Solski (guitar and vocals), Donald Laframbois (keyboards and vocals), Keith Silver (bass and vocals), and Uncle Dik (drums), Dry County sounds like AC/DC meets Alabama.
Track one from their album Waitin on Hank is "God Loves All His Rednecks," and aside from enjoying the title very much, the track itself is solid. The track rides on an easy beat set down by Dik, and Gallagher's vocals from the very beginning scream Nashville or Memphis, not Toronto in any way. Solski's guitar, though, is no country twang. It's a hard-edged, Lynyrd Skynyrd riff on top of an Allman Brothers-like bass line put down by Silver. Laframbois's keys are scaled back a little, but then it's so easy to hear his backing vocals and they just make this song sing. Another great asset to this track is the banjo in the background. These guys have found a way to make the banjo rock, and no one's done that since the Dixie Chicks years ago. Written with solid, lucid lyrics, and with rock-hard vocals, "God Loves All His Rednecks" is a brilliant start to what promises to be a new kind of country-rock album.
The jam continues with "Cowboy Up," a riff-driven track where Solski shines from the very first notes. Then Silver's bass lines lock tightly with Dik's snare and toms, and as Laframbois lays down a few keys in the background, Gallagher cowboys up, and already this track fucking rocks. Everything about this track is right. The guitar just builds and builds, and the backing vocals by Solski, Laframbois, and Silver knock it into another stratosphere as Gallagher brings us home amid incredible drum fills from Dik.
Track three's "Straight Up on the Rox" begins like the previous, on a scathing guitar progression, with incredibly melodic vocals by Gallagher. Solski particularly shines here: every chord is played perfectly, and there are no do-overs needed. Dik's drumming is a little easier here, taking his cue from Solski's country axe, and Silver's bass just keeps us pumping along. Solski makes this song something else with a bridge that just sings, and you can here Laframbois's keys in the back, adding soul and melody to a rocking song. A song for any bar, any drink, anytime.
The last track I listen to is Dry County's cult hit "Waitin on Hank," and all I can do is listen with my mouth wide open. From the sound effects of a thunderstorm, this track crawls from the dirt, and it itself is a perfect storm. From second one, Gallagher's vocals are sick, and just make me want to hit someone, and go "Yeah!" Solski's guitar quietly provides a background, and on Dik's snare signal, sears in on a riff that any guitarist, metal, alternative, country, or indie, could be proud of. Then Silver's bass just has my head banging in a way that Cliff Burton's would, and Solski's guitar takes me higher in ways Creed just never could. What a fucking sick guitar bridge. And as Gallagher takes us home, Laframbois's keys can be heard setting melody in the background. Just a sick track. Love it. Wouldn't change a thing.
Sounds Like: Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kid Rock, The Georgia Satellites, Keith Urban, The Allman Brothers
Key Tracks from Waitin on Hank: "Waitin on Hank," "Cowboy Up," "Straight Up on the Rox," "God Loves All His Rednecks"