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The Waco Brothers

New Deal – 2002 (Bloodshot)

Reviewed by Michael Berick

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CDs by The Waco Brothers

"Alcohol, Freedom & a country song" goes the refrain of the "AFC Song," but it also could serve as the Waco Brother's motto. Alcohol flows freely throughout this disc, from the brassy roadhouse rocker "Poison" to the lovelorn "Honky Tonky Shadows."

But the Wacos aren't just about serving up simple "tears in your beer" tunes. A political awareness surfaces in "New Deal Blues," "No Heart" and "The Lie" that reflects the loss of "freedom" that the little guy has in the world today. This attitude shouldn't be surprising since Waco frontman Jon Langford also is a member of the politically charged rock band, The Mekons.

Underlying all of the Wacos music, however, is the love of a country song, but they give country their own twist. They make, to borrow another song lyric, "half-breed tunes," which is only appropriate for a Chicago-based band loaded with expatraite Brits. Their brand of country music has one foot in the honky tonks and the other in the pubs. It's a raucous, rugged sound with plenty of twang. With "New Deal," the Waco Brothers again show that they are real deal - fun-loving roots rockers who also have something on their minds.