In real life, we all appreciate the guy or gal who can make us laugh, but can also be serious when the occasion demands it. Nobody likes somebody with no sense of humor or someone who takes nothing seriously. So why is it that in music we demand artists be one or the other? Sure, Tim McGraw's done a couple near novelty songs, but for the most part we don't want to hear Cletus T. Judd singing about anything that matters or Martina McBride cracking wise.
Too bad cuz Bob Wire and the Magnificent Bastards are too talented to be limited. They can be funny ("Too Tired to Cheat" "White Trash Paradise"), but that doesn't mean they can't be serious as well. "Dirty Paradise" is a brilliant look at the cost of pollution and "Saigon" confronts us with the uncomfortable truth about how war turns ordinary men into monsters, and some men like it for just that reason.
But they're probably at their best when they skate the line between comedy and tragedy, as on "She Took a Powder" where a man laments the loss of his true love because (among other things) his hand is getting sore and the taste of tears is ruining his oatmeal. On "As For Me," Mr. Wire decides he'll forego the promised land and live forever on earth. Lyrics this good (and a great honky-tonk sounds behind them) are way too good to by limited to just one demeanor. (firstname.lastname@example.org, 406-550-3145)