From the opening twanging of "Honky Tonk Habit" Red Meat firmly establishes their pedigree as a Bakersfield-influenced country group.
Red Meat has been around for years, but it's been years since we've had fresh Red Meat. Why were they waiting?! As with 2001's Alameda County Line, Dave Alvin is producing and the result is a mix of uptempo covers and interesting originals, including some requisite tear-jerkers ("That Couple in Love," "I'm Not the Girl for You."). Most all the band members get a chance to sing, with the exception of guitarist Michael Montalta, which helps keeps listener interest high. But then again, so does good material and great arrangements.
Jill Olson proves her mettle as a songwriter with the forlorn "I'm Not the Girl from You" and the fun tunes "Thriftstore Cowgirl" and "Queen of King City." Scott Young's '40s era sounding "High Maintenance Babe" just begs to be covered. The waltz-tempo'd "Sunday" (written by Mark Bilyeu) is plaintive and beautiful. The lone instrumental is "Moonrock."
It's a great listen that's never boring, and would prove especially fun for those roots-rock fans with an affinity for twang.