Album Review – Rob Leines – “Blood, Sweat and Beers”

photo: Zane Rossell

Lock your doors and hide your daughters ladies and gentlemen, because this booze hounding, womanizing, honky-tonking and hard rocking country music son-of-a-bitch is blowing through your municipality like a long track tornado, and if he doesn’t charm you with his silver tongue, he just might slay you with his Telecaster.

Where in the hell has all the twang and attitude in country music gone? Well let me introduce you to Rob Leines—a hard-touring 200 shows-a-year kind of guy who’s played everywhere and opened for the likes of Whiskey Myers and Dwight Yoakam. If the country music power trio wasn’t a thing before, it is now as Leines not only growls out his original songs, but let’s it fly with lead guitar chops that would waylay most.

On his latest album Blood, Sweat, and Beers, Rob Leines puts all of his hard-earned odometer time on the open road into work hard and play harder road stories, rendering blue-collar country music that breaks out into groove-heavy and hook-laden Southern rock at a moment’s notice. No, this isn’t for the heady introspective Americana set, this is fun and raucous Southern-fried music meant to be listened to loud.

Originally from Georgia, the attitude and approach of Rob Leines sort of reminds you of the Jerry Reed “devil may care” reckless abandon towards music imbued with a little bit of Southern soul, while Rob’s time cutting teeth in California honky tonks and working as a welder earned him both real world cred and style points many of today’s suburban-bred Southern boys playing radio country struggle with.

The songs and stories might be about Rob’s rowdy ways, but they’re rendered with smart rhymes and cunning turns of phrase that make his songwriting skills more than just secondary. This especially comes through when Leines tunes up the acoustic guitar and performs songs like the murderous “Patty Lynn,” or the surprisingly romantic “Hold On.”

It is fair to point out the sameness to much of the subject matter of Blood, Sweat, and Beers, and Rob’s overconfidence may make the underconfident in the audience a little uneasy. Some even may feel a blip raised on their hipster radar by Mr. Leines from some of the image-driven ostentatiousness he emits. But man, it’s hard to not succumb to his charm when he’s laying into a country song or ripping out a guitar solo. He may exude attitude, but the music backs it up.

Though the soul of the band is a three-piece country power trio, Leines and co-producer Eric Rennaker brought fiddle and steel guitar into these sessions to flesh out the songs, and the results were advantageous, without losing the spirit of the hard-charging, live attitude. Some of the tape playback tricks towards the end of the album also add and interesting production wrinkle not regularly found on a country record. Coming from such a rambunctious character, Blood, Sweat, and Beers is pretty ambitious.

Ripe for letting loose with or a road trip or a long weekend, Blood, Sweat, and Beers may not help you solve the meaning of life, but it sure will make life a lot more entertaining.

1 3/4 Gus Up (8/10)

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