J.B. Beverly & the Wayward Drifters

Dark Bar and a Jukebox – 2006 (Helltrain)

Reviewed by Brian T. Atkinson

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CDs by J.B. Beverly & the Wayward Drifters

J.B. Beverly is no fan of mainstream country music. He makes that perfectly clear on the title track of this label debut: "Give me a dark bar and a jukebox/Over that radio/Toby just don't cut it/Give me Haggard, give me Coe/I'm tired of watching Nashville/It's a washed up fashion show."

Sound like anyone we know? It should come as no surprise that Beverly is pals with Hank III. In fact, most of the songs here - in both their energetic honky tonk sound and lyrical message - bear a striking similarity to the risin' outlaw himself. That said, on songs like "Lonesome, Loaded and Cold," "Drinkin' Bourbon" and "Train Song," Beverly and his Wayward Drifters prove themselves adept at putting their unique stamp on traditional country's tried-and-true themes.

The noticeable difference between Beverly and Hank III is that the former wasn't burdened at birth with boulder-sized chip on his shoulder. That makes the music all the more fun. Even when he's busting the music industry's chops like on the title track, it's evident that Beverly doesn't take it all too seriously. This is as refreshing and entertaining as a night out in South Austin. (Box 96, Galion, OH 44833, E-Mail: bcossel@helltrainrecords.com, 419-560-6687)