The Further Adventures of the Franklin County Trucking Company
Ladies and gentlemen, country music is in the midst of an existential crisis due to the derivative nature of modern country music lyrics found in these radio singles that obsess over trucks and tailgates to an alarming degree. Something really should be done to stave off this shallow and repetitive trend of truck songs, and … Oh wait, we’re talking about trucking songs? We’ll then shit, in the immortal words of Ronnie Van Zandt, “Turn it up…”
If your hat is mesh and your right foot heavy, and if you consider Red Sovine and Dave Dudley just as much country music Gods as Willie and Waylon, then the Franklin County Trucking Company is right for you. No, we’re not talking about a fulfillment business with a yard full of Peterbilt’s idling away ready to facilitate all your commercial freight needs, we’re talking about a country music outfit that specializes in delivering country trucking songs with a high-powered Benzedrine kick.
A supergroup of sorts, the Franklin County Trucking Company consists of guitar player Jim Rotramel and drummer Taylor Sphere from the slicked-back rockabilly outfit The Number 9 Blacktops, the infamous Eddie Spaghetti, of, well, Eddie Spaghetti and the Supersuckers of course, Sean Hopkins from Kentucky-based band Dallas Alice, and in this particular incarnation, the incomparable Col. J. D. Wilkes of Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers who shows up to blow some harp and pack an even bigger wallop behind this effort.
Specializing in trucking songs and trucking songs only, The Further Adventures of the Franklin County Trucking Company is one hell of a fun time, running through a handful of new original country music trucking songs they hope to cement as classics of the subgenre, along with a couple of timeless and recognizable trucking tunes, namely Eddie Rabbitt’s excellent “Driving My Life Away,” and “Willin'” by Little Feat. These standards are done anew and like never before from the punk rock attitude the Franklin Country Trucking Company puts into their take on trucking songs.
As fun as the covers are, what you pull off the highway and hang a left for is Franklin County originals like “Dodgin’ Scales,” “Time Is Money,” and “T-R-U-C-K-S-T-O-P.” This band is for those times you tell the family you have to head for the hardware store for a spare part, and go screaming down the road with the windows down, shouting along to the lyrics to blow off steam, or have a seven hour road trip starring you in the face, and need something to help keep the hammer down. Yeah, all the heartfelt and meaningful country music that has set such a high bar in 2019 has been great, but sometimes you just want to let loose, and not feel stupid for doing it. The songs are fun, but the songwriting here is still smart and gratifying, and even finds a bit of sentimental storytelling in the song “Perryville, Missouri.”
Some wondered when watching the recent 16 1/2-hour Ken Burns documentary on country music how the long and storied history of country trucking songs didn’t make the cut. From C.W. McCall, to Red Simpson and Dick Curless, to Del Reeves and Commander Cody, and even to more modern artists like Dale Watson and Bob Wayne, songs for and about truckers are almost as important as songs about drinking and heartache in country music history, and help set country music’s blue collar cred.
The Franklin County Trucking Company resurrects this important trucking song tradition, and revitalizes it with a rock n’ roll edge in a really enjoyable record that will get you falling back down the trucking songs rabbit hole for months to come, cranking old tunes from Jerry Reed, begging your wife to let you install a CB in the family station wagon, and working on a left arm tan.
Damn fun record.
1 3/4 Smokestacks Up (8/10)
– – – – – – – – – –
Purchase from the Franklin County Trucking Company
October 23, 2019 @ 8:40 am
Thanks for pointing out this one. I’ve never driven anything bigger than an F-150, but this is still an instant add for me.
October 23, 2019 @ 8:42 am
Eddie posted about this record the other day. I looked it up. Ended up listening to both albums I could find twice. I had a blast listening to music at work. That matters, music matters, spin this record and have some fun. Good review. Thanks
October 23, 2019 @ 8:55 am
Goes to show anyone with little talent can produce a record and get press.
October 23, 2019 @ 8:58 am
Just a note on Dodging Scales: 1000 barrels of 20w50 would weigh 435,000 lbs, making him almost 400,000 lbs overweight. He shouldn’t have taken that load.
Sir Adam the Great
October 23, 2019 @ 11:40 am
Also, could you imagine the size of that trailer?
October 23, 2019 @ 3:03 pm
If weight wasn’t an issue, you could fit 208 barrels double stacked on a 53 footer, you’d need a 275’ trailer.
The more you know!
The Ghost of Buckshot Jones
October 23, 2019 @ 1:42 pm
They’re going after the Australian market. Road train over there can go up to 220 tons.
October 24, 2019 @ 1:29 am
October 23, 2019 @ 9:25 am
Would not have come across this without your recommendation, so thanks.
Trig, the sheer quantity of your output has been mind-boggling. You must be working around the clock. Thanks.
October 23, 2019 @ 10:12 am
Great find, Trigger. I have always loved trucking songs from Del Reeves to the Willis Brothers to Billy Grammer. I created a playlist a couple months ago, in fact, something to relive my childhood, I suppose. Maybe some of these will find there way on that playlist.
October 23, 2019 @ 1:02 pm
This particular album cover would make a good billboard, in a field, near a big old highway.
October 23, 2019 @ 9:21 pm
I think I would’ve posted it inside my locker at high school.
October 24, 2019 @ 7:31 am
October 23, 2019 @ 10:21 am
Really energized record! And the previous one is fun too.
October 23, 2019 @ 12:33 pm
Just sayin’, we have road trains in Australia. 18 wheels is kind of cute
October 23, 2019 @ 1:01 pm
Yes you do Aussie man. But do you have Red Simpson, Dave Dudley, Jerry Reed, CW McCall, Red Sovine, Dick Curless, Junior Brown? Huh? Well, we did! Come to think of it though, most of these fellas done passed on…oh well, it was a great era of music.
I classify this as Rig Rock. Nothing wrong with that either. Anytime you got Eddie Spaghetti and Colonel JD aboard it’s gonna rock…and roll…
October 23, 2019 @ 4:14 pm
Slim Dusty had a few good Australian trucking songs such as Lights On The Hill.
It wasn’t just a great and now lost era of trucking music, but of trucking itself. Owner-operators can’t compete like they used to, everything is so expensive, and the damn government restrictions and laws have choked all the fun out of it. Shifting twin sticks is a lost art anymore.
October 23, 2019 @ 1:00 pm
Now we’re sounding like America.
Maybe this is the last run of Truck Rock music, maybe not. They said trains were dead, but they’re still not. Can we get someone to write the Stobe Hobo Ballads?
Some things you just bash out. Happy to hear this band.
October 23, 2019 @ 2:40 pm
I actually collect “Gearjammer” records, they’re pretty awesome. My personal favorite is Red Simpson. Dale Watson hit the nail on the head with his truckin’ albums, too.
October 23, 2019 @ 2:53 pm
I love the Number 9 Blacktops! It’s cool that they named the album after the county they are from. A fun bit of trivia is that Kendall Marvel is from the same county. Southern Illinois is full of great singers and musicians! I can’t wait to give this a listen.
October 24, 2019 @ 8:51 pm
Also Craig Gerdes is from Southern IL. Check him out as well.
October 23, 2019 @ 4:36 pm
Dave Dudley’s “Six Days On The Road” is the greatest performance of any song in the “truck driving genre.”. It is a scientific fact.
October 24, 2019 @ 4:06 am
Dave Dudley was the MAN! And yes Six Days on the Road should be Numero Uno on the list of Truckin tunes. Nitro Express by Red Simpson is pretty great too. Then there’s Phantom 309, Wolf Creek Pass, ..don’t get me started!
October 23, 2019 @ 5:54 pm
They should do some songs about not looking up from their phones anymore than twice per mile…
October 25, 2019 @ 9:02 am
I’d like to hear a song about filling up one of those 100 oz. Big Gulp cups with Mountain Dew, or how itchy those truck stop Navajo blankets are….
October 23, 2019 @ 6:08 pm
TRIG! This is fantastic! I listened to it 3x today!!
I LOVE truckin’ songs. When I was growing up in the early to mid-90’s, I feel asleep every Friday and Saturday night to a nationally syndicated truck driving show on most country formats that aired after midnight to (I don’t know) 5 am. It was favorite thing to listen to…. hearing the truck drivers call in from all these foreign places across the country, the truck driver’s requests, and it was the only place I heard old country music like George Jones and Merele Haggard (even back in the 90’s country radio didn’t honor its roots). Awhile back I looked up that defunct show, if I get the time I’ll do it again and let you know the name.
But this album is fucking great!
What Whiskey Myers and Blackberry Smoke are doing for Southern Rock, the Franklin Country Trucking Company has done for the forgotten Truck Driving sub genre!
2 exhaust stacks for me!
October 23, 2019 @ 9:24 pm
I was searching for the name of that syndicated trucker radio show and I came across some sad news. Bob Kingsley passed away last week. I grew listening to American Country Countdown every Sunday. When I was young, there was a period of time I would document the countdowns by hand. What for? I have no idea. But, I had a notebook with a years worth of countdowns. Then the internet came along and rendered my the archives useless.
October 24, 2019 @ 4:16 am
Bob Kingsley! Yeah buddy, I loved American Country Countdown. Man oh man, your taking me back brother. There used to be a great National call in request show on Saturday nights for classic country as well. I think it ran into the early 2000s before it ended. They would play everything from trucker tunes to Marty Robbins to Conway to Hank and all points in between. Forget the name of that show….man, radio blows these days. We need fun shows like they used to do.
October 24, 2019 @ 6:06 am
Went down the rabbit hole hard last night.
Someone has been posting the archives of countdowns on youtube….
The year-end ones might be worth the listen.
October 24, 2019 @ 8:57 am
The Countdown was awesome because the first half was speckled with stuff I’d never heard during the week on our STL Country stations. It seems the more things change, ….
October 23, 2019 @ 7:20 pm
What’s with the language? I’m certainly no prude but this isn’t the place for it.
October 23, 2019 @ 9:29 pm
An Eddie Spaghetti project is the absolute f*cking perfect place for some colorful language.
October 24, 2019 @ 6:13 am
Damn if it isn’t good to see Eddie on something like this. Dude’s had a hard run of luck the last few years, but nothing seems to keep him down. Probably the hardest working man in rock and roll.
October 24, 2019 @ 5:43 am
Heard Truck Drivin’ bastard, Me on Outlaw Country last night. Googled band’s name, SCM was the first thing to pop up. Good job, Trigger! Oh, and that song rocks, off to listen to more.
October 24, 2019 @ 5:48 pm
well these boys put some drive in their country for sure…
October 24, 2019 @ 6:44 pm
Never was a trucker myself, but I sure love trucks and (by a natural progression) songs about driving them!!
This album suits me just fine. Great stuff!
Gotta love those Aussie road trains too!
October 24, 2019 @ 7:38 pm
What a great tune!
Got kind of a Bottle Rockets vibe.
October 25, 2019 @ 8:59 am
I love trucking tunes. This was disappointing. Inauthentic.
October 25, 2019 @ 2:39 pm
Yep sometimes you just want to have a fun album to listen to and this is certainly a nice occasional respite from the other 20 or so albums that currently permeate my playlist. I crave variety. Had me at Dodgin’ Scales! 3 full spins in and lovin’ it. Everything doesn’t have to be serious to be good and entertaining. Now I gotta go find the first one……. I don’t have room for anymore great music!!!
October 25, 2019 @ 11:09 pm
Any plans to make this available in the UK as a download? The CD is $15 but postage is another $18!
October 28, 2019 @ 10:31 am
In (semi) related news, Paul Barrere, Little Feat guitarist, passed away yesterday from complications from liver cancer. In no stretch of the imagination would I ever remotely call the Feat country, but their musical gumbo certainly had some traces of it within. Lowell George obviously got all the kudos for his slide work in the band, but it worked better paired with Paul’s tasty licks.
“Willin’ ” is thier closest thing to a country track, as evidenced by cover versions by Linda Ronstadt, the Flying Burrito Bros., and the Franklin Country boys as referenced here (though their version is more than just a little different from the original), among others. Gregg Allman included a nice version on his last LP.
All in all, a damn fine and underrated American band. RIP, Mr. Barrere, strap on those Sailin’ Shoes for one more journey. You’ll be missed.
November 3, 2019 @ 5:45 pm
Oh my god! This is awesome! This and Chris Knight’s album are at top of my rotation at the moment.
Atomic Zombie Redneck
November 9, 2019 @ 11:16 am
This is a really fun album, great songs and great performances.