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Dash Rip Rock

Wrongheaded – 2015 (Drag Snake)

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

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CDs by Dash Rip Rock

If it wasn't already apparent by their handle, even an initial listen to any of the albums Dash Rip Rock's released over the past 25 years will confirm the obvious, namely that they remain one of the leading proponents of high velocity insurgent country working the crowds these days. "Wrongheaded" is fuelled by the same edge and aggression that's spurred them all along, but astute observers will notice some refinement as well, especially as it applies to an entry like the merry and melodic "Broken Arrow." That's not to say they're muting their aggression - not by a long shot. Songs such as "Shades," "Stickin' To The Woods" and "Finished" are among the rawest and roughest efforts they've offered up yet. If Aerosmith opted to jam with Neil Young and Crazy Horse, it would likely equate to the energy level ignited here.

That said, Dash Rip Rock's good old boy attributes occasionally manifest in ways that are less that maniacal. "Country Stories" sounds like a campfire sing-along while "Songreader" is both effusive and engaging. "Run Like a River" is simply a grabbing rocker, the kind that's certain to inspire an army of air guitarists to flail their arms in unison.

If nothing else, "Wrongheaded" proves that even the rowdiest rockers are capable of varying the tones and textures in order to make them palatable to a wider audience. In some regards, Dash Rip Rock's music has matured, veering away from the punk precepts that guided them early on and into a more tempered state of mayhem. To say they've mellowed may be an overstatement, but regardless, the accessibility factor has clearly come to the fore. Fans of Hank III, Jason & the Scorchers and Drive-By Truckers take heed. This one's for you...