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Album Review

Man, who said American roots rock is dead? You'd never know it by listening to Americano, the fourth issue by Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers. Clyne is a songwriter cut from the cloth that bore fellow Arizonans Green on Red's Dan Stuart and Chuck Prophet and is a direct descendent of John Mellencamp, but he rocks harder than all of them put together. Clyne tells tales that come from the archetypal myths of American life — whether ordinary or legendary — and aspires to imbue them with transcendent meaning. He doesn't seem to care if he succeeds; redemption lies in the attempt. In this way he is a kindred spirit to Steve Earle, but lays his cards on the rock side of the table and leaves country music to the Texan. Produced by Peter Lubin (producer of the late bluesman John Campbell and the Everly Brothers) and Dusty Wakeman — who also commandeered Lucinda Williams' glorious self-titled Rough Trade debut and Sweet Old World albums — the sound of the Peacemakers here is tough, lean, and immediate. Clyne uses just enough chords to keep his songs interesting and to convey the considerable emotion in his tales of hard-luck dreamers, wasted prophets, starry-eyed working stiffs, and losers who have no idea that they have. There are the steely chords of the title track, which is an outlaw's anthem of keeping ahead of the law and mortality for another day. Its companion piece is "I Don't Need Another Thrill," where a modern day gunslinging Dionysus beats the reaper and hangman's odds until he meets his match in a woman and willingly surrenders it all to be welcomed inside the palace of love. The macho posturing of the outlaw's creed melts into the desert sunset as he throws down his guns.

"Switchblade" is the hard-luck tale of the perfect crime gone bad in Mexico. As accordions and acoustic guitars usher in the opening verse, Clyne sets his sights on telling his story without flinching, but he breaks after the electric guitars enter the fray and it becomes a ghost story — the teller is a hollowed-out shell of a man who sings his song in order to accept what he cannot bring himself to. Ultimately, Americano reveals Clyne & the Peacemakers on their best effort yet; they are one of the very best rock & roll bands in a tradition that currently doesn't matter to corporate radio programmers. That's because Clyne and his band don't sell anything at all, not product, not trend, not genre, not glamour or style. Instead, they report, they dream, they mourn, they crash, and they burn careening across a razored skyline that ends down the American night with their hymns of cheap grace, harrowing laughter, and busted icons. The music they play is impure, dirty, raw, immediate, and larger than life, yet it comes squarely from its center; it's timeless, eternal, low down, and full of careless abandon and street smarts that take no one at his word but know the old truths remain for a reason. Americano is one fine album; it should be played at earsplitting volume in pool halls, bowling alleys, and backyard bashes and on college radio stations. It should blare from the CD players of fast cars roaring down empty highways under the stars and just before dawn. Indeed, it should be savored and celebrated by those swaggering street denizens known as the rock & roll faithful as proof that the good stuff never disappears.

Customer Reviews

RCPM NEW FAN W/BUFFETT CONNECTION

Saw RCPM in Detroit small venue Nov. 2. Went in with a open mind and couldn't have been more excited during the great show. Many of the songs off this album were played and played well! .  I am captivated, hooked, and perhaps even obsessed-- that was hands down second only to Jimmy Buffett!  I focused my whole way home trying to figure out how a 35-year-old boring teacher could even relate to Roger’s Southwest Third Third-World Cantinas lifestyle.  And as I was pondering that question, I realized why I appreciate Buffett and Clyne so much.    Stay with me here, I am going to ramble!   Because my life is so different I can appreciate the tales of southwest adventures.  What I respect most about both of those performers is they too appreciate their lifestyles!  It is extremely humble to appreciate your own life and they project themselves in a manner that makes you think they really enjoy their lives and want to share it with us for and hour or two.   Lyrical, Roger Clyne is truly underappreciated, every song perfect prose that flows, yet as we discussed, it takes you a while to learn the words.  The reason for that is the uniqueness of the prose, leading and clearly not predictable! BY ALL OF THEIR STUFF THEY DESERVE THE MONEY!!!

Americano!

In a time of Indie whining and emo melancholy, it's nice to know there still is solid rock music being made. The Peacemakers are simply outstanding and Americano is their best product yet. If you have a chance to seem them live, jump at it. They'll even include a few old Refreshments songs in the set.

Awesome album, even better group of guys

Used to be the Refreshments, then broke up and went Indie as the world's greates honkey tonk rock and roll band EVER! This album is great, as well as Honkey Tonk Union, but if you really wanna enjoy their music, take in a show. I only wish I could be so lucky as to see them in a small, non-crowded venue as mentioned above, but I'm in their neck of the woods and they are Gods around here.

Americano!, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers
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Customer Ratings