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The Backsliders

Throwin' Rocks at the Moon – 1997 (Mammoth)

Reviewed by Steve Gardner

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CDs by The Backsliders

The Backsliders, of Raleigh N.C., are a band that has been mixing up country with rock for about five years now and tearing up the local live music scene. Now, the band has emerged with their first full length recording, the best country-rock release since Robby Fulks' "Country Love Songs."

The brilliance of this band is that they can do both sides of the country-rock equation well. When these guys break into songs such as "If You Talk To My Baby" or "Lonesome Teardrops" they can almost fool you into thinking that they've pulled some old honky-tonk song out of obscurity. When it comes to the more rocking cuts, such as "My Baby's Gone" and "Paper Doll World," the band is just as impressive while still retaining all its credibility.

Of course, even with the rock songs you can still get a pretty strong whiff of some twangin' going on thanks to the one-two guitar punch of Steve Howell and Brad Rice, one of the best guitar players in this type of music today. For anyone interested in such bands as Old 97's, Fulks, or even the non-novelty songs from the early Beat Farmers, this is highly recommended.