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Here Tomorrow Gone Today

Two Dollar Pistols

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Album Review

John Howie, Jr., lead singer and founder of the Two Dollar Pistols was made to sing honky tonk. When he wraps his powerful baritone around a typically melancholy lyric, he recalls the greats of the genre such as Faron Young, George Jones, Waylon Jennings, and even Dwight Yoakam, all of whom have clearly influenced him. This set of 12 originals, the band's first release in three years and its debut on Howie's own indie label, doesn't break any new ground. But it doesn't need to. Each track boasts a memorable chorus, stripped down yet rugged playing (electric guitarist Scott McCall is terrific throughout), and of course, great singing from Howie, who sounds both inspired and relaxed. Some credit should also go to producer Rick Miller (frontman for Southern Culture on the Skids at whose studio this album was recorded) who keeps the sound lean, raw, and firmly in the honky tonk pocket. Two out of three Tres Chicas (Lynn Blakey and Tonya Lamm) as well as Miller's wife and Southern Culture bassist Mary Huff provide subtle harmonies, but this is really Howie's show. Even though credit is shared with the band for the music, he wrote all the lyrics and, with his deep, mellifluous voice center stage, is clearly the driving force. The songs stay predominantly in the ballad groove urged on by guest pedal steel player Clyde Mattocks. But a few upbeat rockers, such as the witty brush off "I Don't Know You, (But I Don't Like You)" that features McCall on Augie Meyers-styled Farfisa, and the Byrds-influenced "She Lies All the Time," one of the disc's finest songs nearly buried at track number 11, fire up the proceedings. There isn't a weak cut as Howie and his band shoot their hard country/barroom vibe with laconic precision, gobs of soul, and a shot glass of humor.

Biography

Formed: 1996 in North Carolina

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s

After spending over a decade playing drums in various rock bands, singer/songwriter John Howie eventually exchanged his kit for a six-string acoustic guitar and a handful of broken-hearted, whisky-drinking country ballads to form Two Dollar Pistols. Taking a cue from old-time country-folk from the Sun Records era of the 1950s, Merle Haggard, and George Jones, Howie remained in his home state of North Carolina rather than jumping ship to the carbon-copy, commercialized country of Nashville. With the...
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Here Tomorrow Gone Today, Two Dollar Pistols
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