Music Reviews

Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys

Night Tide


Every month, I’ll find myself attracted to a different type of music. Sometimes it’s more towards the rock side, or the pop side. Some months I go digital, some I go ethnic. There’s been soundtrack months, oldies months, unlistenable electronic icepick months. But through all those months and moods, there’s never been a Big Sandy + co. album that I couldn’t instantly appreciate. Big Sandy’s approach to his music takes in western swing, rockabilly, and numerous subtle influences, and puts out timeless classics, simple but sharp songs full of human grace.

For example, the rollicking “Hey Lowdown!” tells a tale of car envy. The sound is nostalgic (check out the pedal steel), but the tale it tells could be from the time of hot rods, of muscle cars, or of drive-bys. “Nothing To Lose” is a beautiful lilting waltz about domestic homicide. At times, Big Sandy can sound as wide-eyed and innocent as Buddy Holly, at others like an old hand who’s seen his share. The Fly-Rite Boys are masters of understatement, expertly setting up brief solo outings. Wonderful and inspiring.

Hightone Records, 220 4th St. #101, Oakland, CA 94607;

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