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Cowboy Nation

Cowgirl-A-Go-Go – 2002 (Paras)

Reviewed by Brian Baker

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CDs by Cowboy Nation

Chip and Tony Kinman have a long and storied history of defining a genre and then bolting off toward new musical challenges (the punk frenzied Dils, cowpunk pioneering Rank and File, industrial Blackbird).

With their latest acoustic trio, Cowboy Nation, the Kinmans have taken the propulsive country punk of Rank and File and stripped it down to its sparsest components in the service of contemporary original cowboy songs. On their third Cowboy Nation album, the Kinmans have begun to creep the needle back ever so slightly to the glorious heyday of Rank and File. Although the majority of CN's material remains firmly on the acoustic side of the ledger (the loping title track, the chugging "Good Old Days"), there are a few tracks that smoke and shiver with the intensity, if not the electricity, of the first two RAF albums ("Rebel," "Dollar a Day").

The key fact to note here is that the Kinmans have never gone beyond a third album before shifting gears into another musical mode. This slight return to RAF territory could signal another, perhaps less drastic change for the brothers of Cowboy Nation.