Kelly Hogan & the Pine Valley Cosmonauts

Beneath the Country Underdog – 2000 (Bloodshot)

Reviewed by Rachel Leibrock

CDs by Kelly Hogan & the Pine Valley Cosmonauts

As a member of the defunct Jody Grind (on vocals) and the continuing Rock-a-Teens (on guitar), Kelly Hogan has earned herself a tidy little legion of fans with her garage-rock, punk-playing, swing-soaked talents. It's Hogan's talent as a country chanteuse, however, that may finally win her the wide-spread critical acclaim she deserves.

Backed by the Pine Valley Cosmonauts - i.e members of the Waco Brothers, Mekons, Bottle Rockets - Hogan's debut is rich with history, grace and spunk. From her choice in covers (songs by Johnny Paycheck, Willie Nelson and indie band Magnetic Fields) to the timeless feel of her own originals, Hogan has crafted a neo-classic country record.

With a honeyed, tender voice and that intrinsic sense of longing so fundamental for a good country song, Hogan breathes life into songs such as ("It's a Mighty Thin Line) Between Love and Hate" "Papa Was a Rodeo" and "Wild Mountain Berries." And, as if Hogan's talent weren't enough to stand on its own - and it is - notables such as Robbie Fulks, Edith Frost and John Wesley Harding lend a hand and voice here and there making this a record collection must-have.