Under The Influences
In which the Social Distortion frontman (and more recently, solo rockabilly/country/blues artist) takes his touring band into the studio to have a little fun covering songs by artists that influenced him as a songwriter. When listening to the record, it should become clear where Ness picked up his talent for painting evocative pictures with his lyrics – one of the most exciting elements of Under The Influences is its wonderful sense of storytelling. Ness’ passionate yet gravelly voice beings new life to these classics, both familiar (Bobby Fuller’s “I Fought the Law”) and obscure (the Wayne Walker-penned “All I Can Do is Cry”). Highlights include songs written by the likes of Hank Williams (“Six More Miles” and “House of Gold”), Marty Robbins (“Gamblin’ Man” and “Big Iron”), Carl Perkins (“Let the Jukebox Keep on Playing”), and Bill Anderson (“Once A Day”), as well as a honky-tonk version of one of Ness’ own tunes, the Social D favorite “Ball and Chain.” The comfortable, practiced mastery of Ness’ band, especially the tasty pedal steel of Chris Wallace, ensures that every track is a treasure. Despite containing no original material, Under The Influences is a vibrant, accomplished, and fun piece of work from a master storyteller. Highly recommended.