If someone asks you to define just what exactly you mean when you say “REAL” country or when you call someone an “Outlaw.” If words fail you when someone asks you to clarify what you mean when you say your music has to have “that sound.” When you say “I know it when I hear it,” and someone asks for an example, play them a little Peewee Moore & The Awful Dreadful Snakes.
If I were to trace the genealogy of the country music Outlaw, it would start with Bobby Bare, roll through Willie & Waylon and that whole gang, follow Cash through the late 90’s, and end up in the country music underground with people like Peewee Moore as possibly the perfect example of the Outlaw lineage in the present day.
Peewee Moore has figured out how to move the classic country sound from the late 60’s to the mid 70’s to the here and now, while still keeping the music passionately relevant. Many bands have tried to do this before, but their punk/metal leanings get in the way, or maybe there are elements of the classic sound, but they miss the mark when trying to put the whole package together. To the guitar tones, to the amount of return and reverb, to the lyrics and themes of the songs, Peewee Moore hits the mark.
Something that really helps this along is Peewee’s insistence on having drums, but having them almost exclusively involve just the snare drum. This is beyond a wise move, as is the most useful element in creating that old sound in Peewee’s music. Drumming is so often overlooked by bands trying to re-create that traditional sound, and Dreadful Snake Dud Wash deserves a lot of credit for playing back and doing what’s best for the music.
Same could be said for bass player Ivan Wilson. It’s almost expected now to see an upright bass at an underground country show, but Willie, Waylon, Cash, and Haggard all during the golden Outlaw period used electric basses, and that is the best way to tie the music to that era.
I will say Peewee’s lyricism doesn’t wow me. It’s not bad, it’s not superb. I’d classify it as hit or miss depending on the song. What I will give him credit for is clearly being a student of classic country, and knowing well the best themes to work from to fit his sound. But sometimes the themes come across as tired, like with his song “This Old House,” whose chorus goes, “This old house ain’t a home any more.” I’ve heard plenty of that.
On the flip side songs like his “Truck Driving Song” work off of often-used themes, but are pulled off well by the sheer coolness of the song and the cleverness of the lines. Another one of my favorite Peewee songs is “Leaving With The Band.” All the themes are fairly common, but that also ties them back to that classic era, so this is a forgivable and understandable offense.
Pewee’s album The Leaving Side of Gone is not groundbreaking, but is a solid offering, and is an essential for any true, REAL country fan. You can preview all the tracks and purchase the album by CLICKING HERE.
He is also heading out on tour to the Midwest in a few days so make sure to check out savingcountrymusic.com/calendar for the upcoming dates.