The Derailers - Genuine

The Derailers

(Lucky Dog/Sony Nashville)

First Appeared at The Music Box, June 2003, Volume 10, #6

Written by T.J. Simon


It’s time to don your Western suit and set the Wayback Machine to Bakersfield, California, circa 1965. This was a time and place where country music was being reinvented by groundbreaking luminaries like Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. The traditional Bakersfield sound is kept alive today by the likes of Dwight Yoakam and a retro act known as The Derailers, which hails from Austin, Texas. Genuine, The Derailers’ latest release, is a splendid blend of country’s past and present. The music has an eye on Nashville’s establishment with an unwillingness to forsake the early influences that propelled the genre forward.

In addition to the Bakersfield sound, the original songs on Genuine pay tribute to early-Beatles (Scratch My Itch), Buddy Holly (Uncool), and Roy Orbison (Alone with You). The disc also contains a cover of Buck Owens’ delightful instrumental The Happy Go Lucky Guitar, and there are even several songs penned by singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale (The Way to My Heart and Take It Back) that would sound right at home on contemporary country radio. Actually, scratch that — The Derailers’ songs are, for the most part, way too good for country radio.

Genuine’s shining moment is the title track, which was co-written by lead singer Tony Villanueva and NRBQ’s Al Anderson, and it’s his involvement that explains the lyrical tip of the hat to NRBQ’s signature tune It Comes to Me Naturally. Villanueva and guitarist Brian Holfeldt even pull off a believable country-gospel number on The Wheel, a road song with Jesus as the co-pilot. The album’s only dark spot is the pandering novelty song I Love Me Some Elvis, a name-checking piece of tripe so awful that it could actually be a hit on contemporary country radio. Even with this one wart, Genuine is a mighty fine album by a band keeping a critical sound alive. starstarstarstar

Genuine is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 2003 The Music Box