Sawmill Records/ Vanguard Records
The Boxmasters are not your typical country revivalists. Yes, their self-titled debut album sounds like it was plucked from the Grand Ole Opry half a century ago, but this trio updates the “Tear in My Beer” country sound into something that 21st-century music fans of all genres can appreciate.
Take “I’ll Give You a Ring.” Songwriters Billy Bob Thornton (yes, that Billy Bob Thornton) and Grammy-award winning producer J.D. Andrew have an interesting proposal for their live-in girlfriends: “I’ll give you a ring/ When you give me back my balls.” The song sounds like it’s straight from the ’50s, back when Hank Williams reigned supreme, but the lyrics are straight from the here and now, capped by the soon-to-be-classic line “You canceled my sports package/ On the satellite TV/ Well, it’s not the only package/ That you took away from me.”
Even better is the men being men, “I’m Watching the Game,” where Thornton is going to “pitch a fit” if the Cardinals get beaten by “those f*ckin’ Cubs” because she’s trying to get his attention. His response: “Why don’t you go pick some flowers?” What a gentleman.
This two-disc set features one disc of highly unusual, but entertaining originals, while the second disc has just over a half-hour of covers, including Mel Tillis’ “Sawmill,” “Original Mixed-Up Kid” by Mott the Hoople, the Beatles’ classic, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” and The Who’s “The Kids Are Alright.”
The Boxmasters sounds like something from the Charley Pride era of country music, but this trio proves that you can honor and update the classics at the same time, and do it flawlessly.