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Distance Between

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Album Review

Given the fact that Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash have one of the most superbly arrogant names any alt-country band could hope to dream up, it's a bit of a puzzler that they don't sound leaner and meaner than they do, and while the group's second album, Distance Between, is a solid collection of well-crafted country-rock, the fact is these guys hardly sound like outlaws in the manner of their hero, either musically, legally, or attitudinally. While there are a few potent twang-rock numbers on Distance Between — the two best being about cars, "Wind It Up" and "1970 Monte Carlo" — most of the album is dominated by languid mid-tempo numbers whose temperament seems influenced either by U2 during their "thinking about America" period (such as "Tears of Gold") or a slightly grittier take on '70s country-rock (typified by "Marfa Lights"). Mark Stuart is a dependable songwriter, and his voice makes him sound like Lyle Lovett's rough-and-tumble younger brother (or Bruce Springsteen's twangier cousin), while the band is tight and professional on all 12 songs here. But while Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash's chops are just fine, their inspiration often sounds a bit forced, and there's very little here that sounds particularly passionate or strikingly original. There isn't a thing wrong with the craft or the execution of Distance Between, but it sounds a bit short on fire and feeling, and it's hard not to think that a little dose of their namesake's attitude and defiance would do them a world of good.


Formed: 1995 in San Diego, CA

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, who came together in 1995, play modern country with an "outlaw" edginess, with some of the attitude and some of the swagger of artists we've come to expect from the man in black himself, Johnny Cash, or from Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, and Kris Kristofferson, to name a few others. Mark Stuart and his fellow Bastard Sons -- Dean Cote (guitar), Clark Stacer (bass), and Joey Galvan (drums) ( an early lineup included Buzz Campbell (lead guitar), Alex Watts (lead...
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Distance Between, Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash
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