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Gin Palace Jesters

Roadhouse Riot...and other songs with words – 2007 (Self-released)

Reviewed by Linda Dailey Paulson

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CDs by Gin Palace Jesters

For honky tonk with soughing fiddles and chiming pedal steel that's as appropriate for Friday night's hell raisin' as for sober weekday introspection, check out The Gin Palace Jesters. This sextet from Illinois is anything but boring. It's hard to pin a definitive genre label on this group because they meander into country blues and western swing. "Are You Missing Me" is a perfect example. Which is it?

The songs are paced well with several fun uptempo songs that veer toward rockabilly that include a tribute to Webb Pierce's legendary Pontiac Bonneville (pimped out by Nudie, no less) and the peppy "Alison Rose." Not all frivolity, there's a requisite murder ballad ("Down Beneath the Willows") and some tear in my beer tracks like Buck Owens' "Second Fiddle." The group also covers The Louvin Brothers' "Are You Missing Me," but the other dozen tracks are all originals. (No lyrics provided in the CD packaging, sadly.)

The singing isn't always in perfect tune, but there's lots to enjoy, including the interesting arrangements. Good fun.