Rex Hobart & the Misery Boys
Forever Always Ends
First Appeared at The Music Box, September 1999, Volume 6, #9
Written by John Metzger
Chicagoís Bloodshot Records has long been the home for punk-fueled country, but on the latest release from Rex Hobart, titled Forever Always Ends, the kick comes more from the lyrics than the music. The album is filled with the kind of fare that once poured out of country radio stations across the U.S., but with the marketís growing reliance on watered-down groups that are more in tune with pop music, the real heirs to C&Wís rich heritage are left wondering where to turn.
Throughout Forever Always Ends, there is a bit of a rock Ďní roll undercurrent that harkens back to The Byrdsí classic Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Yet, Hobartís true muses are the music and spirit of Merle Haggard and Johnny Paycheck. Indeed, Hobart even goes so far as to include similarly edgy song titles like Make Me Hate You Before You Go and Wait Outside (While I Change).
With Forever Always Ends, Hobart has crafted an album that is teeming with irresistible melodies. As can be expected, the lyrics are full of the pain and sorrow of heartache and are best taken with a shot of one's favorite liquor. However, at times, the music and Hobartís delivery seem to celebrate the loss of love even while they are mourning it. Songs like Nothiní but Nothiní and I Always Cry at Weddings are unleashed with an almost joyous air. In addition, Solomon Hofer laces the material with the tender sound of his pedal steel guitar. On I Walked in While He Was Changing Your Mind, he amplifies the sadness inherent in Hobartís desolate vocals; while on Between a Rock and a Heartache, his contributions provide a weepy accompaniment as the band embarks on a jubilant dance.
The country music industry may be out of touch with its roots, but the same can be said about the music business in general. Thank goodness there are so many smaller, independent labels that are picking up the slack ó and theyíre doing it with an obvious love of the music they represent. There are indie labels out there for just about every genre imaginable, and in many cases they regularly serve up music that is just as good, if not better, than their mainstream counterparts. Rex Hobartís Forever Always Ends is just the latest outing in Bloodshot Records' increasingly superb catalog.
Forever Always Ends 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 © 1999 The Music Box