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Under the Influences [LP]


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Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Mike Ness (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars); James Saez (acoustic & electric guitars, percussion); Chris Lawrence (electric & pedal steel guitars); Sean Greaves (electric guitar, banjo); Brantley Kearns (fiddle); Mando Dorame (tenor saxophone); Brent Harding (acoustic & electric basses); Charlie Quintana (drums).
  • In retrospect, Social Distortion singer/songwriter Mike Ness making this album seems like an inevitability. It was Ness's country sensibilities that helped make Social Distortion one of the most unique West Coast punk bands, so this album of (mostly) C&W covers (his second solo effort) seems a long time coming. To his credit, Ness doesn't try to disguise the fact that he and his cohorts are rock musicians first and country fans second. He displays the utmost reverence for the material, thankfully steering clear of ironic postmodern gestures (like his country heroes, he can only ever play it straight), but this is clearly a rock band playing country. Thus, the songs have some extra electrified zip and propulsive rhythms. Still, Ness's outlaw-with-a-heart-of-gold stance, his combination of bad-boy bravado and church-bound repentance (qualities he arrived at independent of his country forefathers) are perfectly in line with the aesthetic propounded by Marty Robbins ("Big Iron"), Hank Williams ("House of Gold"), and Marvin Rainwater ("Gamblin' Man").
Professional Reviews
Magnet (4-5/00, p.85) - "...Pays tribute to the old-time country, folk and rockabilly he's discovered along his path to musical enlightenment....ranging from the reasonably familiar to the rather obscure....[His] trademark acid-etched yowl is well-suited to the material..."

No Depression (1-2/00, pp.82-3) - "...Rockabilly that thunders; sax-fueled R&B so heartsick it sounds as if he might puke..."
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