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Album Review

If you saw the title Honky Tonk Union but had never heard anything by Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers, you might deem the band a country-oriented ensemble. It would certainly be a logical assumption. But for the most part, this CD isn't country — not honky tonk, not pop-country, not alternative country or No Depression. The primary focus of Honky Tonk Union is Americana and roots rock — sort of John Cougar Mellencamp meets Bruce Springsteen meets Tom Petty, but with more of a southwestern flavor. If those aforementioned songwriters had formed a band in Arizona, California, Nevada, or New Mexico during the '70s, perhaps it would sound something like Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers' engaging debut.

Employing an abundance of down-home, small-town, middle-America imagery, these guys are sometimes stereotypically earthy in their approach to Americana and roots rock — and on twangy offerings like "West Texas Moon" and "City Girls," they do it without a lot of irony. Yet Honky Tonk Union generally comes across as sincere rather than ironic or clever; if singer/songwriter Clyne and his Arizona-based Peacemakers (an ensemble that also includes former Gin Blossoms guitarist Scott Johnson) end up sounding like a caricature of Americana/roots rock, it isn't because they are trying to lampoon that type of music. Rather, they're approaching the genre from a pop/rock perspective, having been steeped in that style during the musicians' respective years with the Refreshments, Gin Blossoms, and Dead Hot Workshop. Honky Tonk Union may not be twangy enough for unwavering roots rock enthusiasts, and it may be too indebted to cowboy-styled rock for those who prefer the bandmates' former groups. Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers are totally unapologetic about what they do, however, and for those who hold this type of rock & roll in high regard, that is good news.

Customer Reviews

Outstanding work, Clyne at the top of his game

I started out sort of tepid with the album, quickly gravitating to a few stand out songs (Easy, Tell Yer Momma, West Texas Moon) and not giving the others a lot of attention. The more I listened though the more this grew on me and now it stands in the Pantheon of truly fantastic albums. Every single song has grown on me (even the weakest effort, My Heart Is a UFO) and I stand by my position that this is Clyne's greatest work with the Peacemakers.

this is a great band

The refreshments were one of my favorites back in HS. Now this is a great continuation of their kind of music. I love every album. Check out the band's website for some tracks you can download for free, too. Not many, but there are some cool live tracks on there.

Best album by the Best Band

Of all their fantastic albums, (also checkout The Refreshments--their previous name) this one is the best. Every song is outstanding. If you ever have the chance, see RCPM live!


Genre: Rock

Formed from the ashes of the Refreshments, Dead Hot Workshop, and the Gin Blossoms, Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers emerged in 1999 as a Southwestern supergroup specializing in literate, pop-tinged Americana. The Arizona-bred frontman Roger Clyne had previously established himself with the Refreshments during the post-grunge heyday of the '90s. Although the cheeky pop anthem "Banditos" earned the band some national recognition in 1996, the Refreshments were dropped from Mercury Records after their...
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Honky Tonk Union, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers
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Customer Ratings