Joey and Dee Dee might be gone, but is seems all the ex-Ramones are trying to build careers based on what used to be. Tommy Ramone (Erdelyi), the original drummer for the group, has discovered country and bluegrass, and he’s released a new disc with Claudia Tienan. He uses his Ramones name for the singing credit, and his legal name for the engineering credit, but any fan will know these two names equal one musician. It’s a twangy string-based sound, sort of like the stuff that Garrison Keillor plays on “Prairie Home Companion,” but not as exciting.
I’ve heard more than a few country pickers and this effort falls pretty much in the middle of the pack. Uncle Monk is competent, and they’ve written melodies that are just what you would expect from someone with a Dobro, but they just don’t seem to have been to the crossroads yet. The rhythm plods along, songs have ever-so-wacky lyrics, and the melodies move around a bit, but none of these sticks in my head better than any generic bluegrass band ever does. Uncle Monk goes where many have gone before, and follows the pack without ever threatening to out-distance it.
Uncle Monk: www.unclemonk.com