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Trophy Husbands

Dark and Bloody Ground – 2000 (Rustic)

Reviewed by Clarissa Sansone

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CDs by Trophy Husbands

A family feud that took place in Arizona in the 1880's inspired the bleak title track of this debut cd, the brainchild of Phoenix-area musicians Kevin Daly (who fronts the band Grave Danger) and Dave Insley (also of The Nitpickers). Other Nitpickers - Jeff Farias on bass and Tom Post on drums - round out the group.

Several tunes convey the mournful flavor of Western saga. Insley's "Willie" and Daly's "Until Then" are twin outlaw confessionals, drenched in regret, with solid bass lines and spare guitar work. "Skellys 1975" updates the theme of the Old West gunslinger and is one man's account of "a robbery where things went all to hell," and his lifelong remorse over killing an innocent man. Not all the ground covered is dark and bloody, however. "She Don't Love You" and "Cadillac" are upbeat country numbers with a black, wry humor. A double-crossed lover wishes his ex and "the kid" she ran off with get eaten alive by a crocodile in "Just Call Me Lonesome."

Straightforward melodies provide room for confident improvisation by Daly on electric guitar and, for a few numbers, Jon Rauhouse on pedal steel. Death, heaven, hell, Jesus, love gone sour: all the ponderous themes of country and western song are explored here. (Rustic, P.O. Box 15225, Phoenix, AZ 85060)