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Hacienda Brothers

Hacienda Brothers – 2005 (Koch)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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The Hacienda Brothers are Chris Gaffney, California alternative country veteran and one of Dave Alvin's Guilty Men, and Dave Gonzalez, a member of The Paladins. For their debut they've enlisted the production help of the legendary Dan Penn, who also lends his songwriting talents on a pair of songs.

The result of this collaboration is something they've dubbed "western soul." The Penn-Gonzalez co-write "Looking For Loneliness" does mix up country and soul with its horn and pedal steel trade-offs, but for the most part what's here is finely-executed country in the vein of The Derailers or Jim Lauderdale or Gaffney's own outfit the Cold Hard Facts. There's a nice mix of covers and originals: among the former, a soaring take on a Dallas Frazier tune, "She's Gone," and a version of "Mental Revenge" that's reminiscent of another faux-sibling act, the Burrito Brothers, courtesy of Chris Lawrence's fuzzed-up steel; chief among the latter, "Seven Little Numbers," a vintage-sounding heartbreak ballad. A couple of instrumentals that showcase Gonzalez's rumbling baritone guitar round things out

This is the inaugural release (along with a new Dallas Wayne disc) in Koch's campaign to reposition itself as an Americana label. It's a good start.