Pop country has corrupted the airwaves of our country, and everyday like a bad rash it spreads out across the landscape poisoning the minds of would-be country music fans. Perch a cowboy hat on top of pop, take some glamor shots, and with a pretty face and a passable voice you too may be able to make a million dollars wizzing on the traditions of the country’s music.
But up in the hills, down in the valleys, nestled by the watersides, and inspired by the greatness of the mountains and the vastness of the desert, REAL country music still lives in the hearts of us all that still believe in it.
And it also lives in the Honky Tonks. Not the ones with the strobe lights, thumping remixes, and guys with spiked bleached hair snorting cocaine off the back of the toilets. I’m talking about the ones with the dirty bathrooms. The ones that the smell of the place sticks in your clothes after you leave.
The Honky Tonk Hustlas are that real deal, hard working country band that we all crave. These three guys from the Hank Williams hometown of Montgomery, Alabama have a good, classic sound, and original songs with lyrics steeped in the sin of the south.
The band is made up of T Junior singin’ and pickin’, Stemp who plays the same upright bass that his granddad played back in the 50’s, and Grady who is a multi-instrumentalist and plays lead guitar and mandolin during shows
They sent me a copy of their CD Hallways of the Always.
I was immediately impressed with the effort they had put just in making the CD look good. That may seem superficial, but these dudes have put a lot of time and effort into promoting themselves, and I always like to see that kind of effort from a band.
I opened up the cover and was even more impressed to see the name of Andy Gibson in the credits. Hank III’s steel guitar player is also a home studio owner and operator, and I cease to be amazed where his name pops up, and wherever it does, you know it is attached to quality.
I asked The Hustlas about working with Andy, how they met him, etc:
“Well it was really chance getting to meet up with Andy. We’d been playing together for a little while, don’t really know how long (maybe a couple months), when we had the opportunity to play a show with Bob Wayne. The first time we played with Bob we were mainly doing some cover tunes of old country songs and maybe a couple of originals…. maybe, but a few months later we hooked back up with Bob and his crew for another show together.Since the last time we’d played a show with Bob we’d hit a creative streak, written a few songs and made a rough demo that we gave to Bob after the show. Bob seemed to dig what we were doing and said we needed to hook up with Andy and make a CD.
He told us he’d talk to Andy and give us a call about recording. We kinda figured that we might not hear anything back but sure as shit when Bob Wayne says something he damn sure means it. The next thing we knew we were heading up to Tennessee to cut a CD with Andy. Andy is 100% professional when it comes to recording and he knows how to get the work done when it gets down to the business of making a CD. He’s also one badass multi instrumentalist musician that could probably play the shit out of a rock if you could fit some strings on it. It was a good experience getting to work with Andy and we learned a lot about making an album just by watching him work his magic.”
Looking at The Hustlas calendar, I noticed that they not only have another date coming up with Bob Wayne, but they also will be playing with The .357 String Band, Joe Buck, and the The Misery Jackals.
“The main thing about us though is that we just fucking love playing country music, period. We do things our way and hopefully folks will dig what we’re doing cause it’s real and isn’t some shit made up for a soccer mom’s listening pleasure. If we was doing this to get rich we’d have given this gig up a long time ago but we play cause it’s in our blood and that’s what we love to do.”
The Honky Tonk Hustlas are the REAL DEAL for sure, so listen to em, add them on MySpace, and support them by buying their music or going to see them if they’re in your neck of the woods.