Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
Jenny Don’t And The Spurs have been hitting the trail since 2012. Nine years to get warmed up, but they are just getting started. They recently embarked on a tour opening for Charley Crockett. This is a perfect example of seasoned punk rockers who inevitably venture into the world of country music. This is the natural progression. The honesty and rawness is still there, it’s just some of the untamed aggression has been quelled. That is the case for Jenny Don’t And The Spurs, who were created out of the Portland, Oregon punk community. Just to review, this is pure country music, folks. From the slow crooners to the upbeat, fast paced numbers, Jenny and company are on the case. Playin’ country music the way it was meant to be played, with 100% conviction and honesty.
Jenny’s voice is the the perfect accompaniment to the music behind her. Very dreamy and able to hit those high octaves with perfection. The twangy guitar and the rhythm section complete the foundation of this country music domicile. You can still hear those punk sounds on many of the tracks. While they are growing and evolving, they are still true to their roots. They even borrowed some ideas from the Louvin Brothers album, Satan Is Real. This appears to be the inspiration for the artwork, paying homage to a country classic.
Trouble On My Mind is the perfect example of the melding of punk rock and country. Jenny belts out the vocals as if she was fronting X or Black Flag. Good things come in small packages, this song is just shy of 90 seconds. Oh, but what a punch is packed in those moments between the start and finish. A lot of controlled chaos from the searing, fast paced twangy guitar licks, the frenetic drumming, and thumping bass. Everything comes together like a well written script.
Another song that takes the punk rock ethos and applies it to country music is Train Ticket. A scorcher of a track that is as hot as a blue star. This song takes a few things from the Stray Cats and even Johnny Cash. Pure, unadulterated country music. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the twang and exceptional picking. A timeless song about a train fits perfectly in any country music collection. Next to songs about booze and heartaches, train songs rank right up there for representation in country music themes.
Just to dispel any myths that Jenny Don’t And The Spurs are one dimensional, I present California Cowboy. This song shows the band’s more sensitive side and their ability to “slow it down” and still sound beautiful. Jenny’s voice again fits perfectly with the rest of the instrumentation and even excels with the slower pace. It fits right in there like dovetails do in furniture. It’s a sign of good craftsmanship and solid design, just just like this song.
This year has started out a bit slow for new music releases, especially country music. There are a number of reasons why this is the case and there is no need to review them. Having said that, I am completely optimistic about both the long and short term health of country based on this pivotal release. It is a must own. Yep, I wrote that.
Listen and buy Fire On The Ridge here.