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Neal Smith

KillSmith Goes West

Review by Gary Hill

Neal Smith is probably best known for his work as Alice Cooper's drummer. The fact is, he's released quite a few albums under his own name. This disc features songs that have a western leaning. It ranges from country aligned sounds to blues rock, Southern rock and more. It's one of his most compelling and effective discs to me. I like this one quite a bit..

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Track by Track Review
Shaughnessy Highway
Slide guitar brings a real country rocking kind of sound to bear here. The vocals have a cow-punk vibe. This feels like a folk rocker with a lot of roots music in the mix. It's effective and solid.
Tequila Tamales & A Woman
There is much more of a straight punky tune. It reminds me of something D.O.A. might do. It does have some slide guitar bringing hints of roots music.
Big Wheels Rollin' West
This is high energy and packed full of country music. It is a lot of fun. It has a bit of that cow-punk thing at play, too. This is catchy and sure to get your toes tapping. This has some of the best guitar soloing of the whole set.
Coffee, Beer & Borrowed Time
A mellower, country styled tune, this one doesn't really work that well for me. It has its charms, but just doesn't stand up to the level of some of the rest here. It does improve when the arrangement intensifies with some bluegrass vibes later, though. I also like the honky-tonk piano later.
Pull It Out Smokin'
We get into some scorching hot rocking territory here. This is fast-paced and fierce. It has metal and punk in the mix. I don't really make out any of those roots elements here. This is another that makes me think of D.O.A. to some degree. It's one of my favorites on the disc.
Sunsets of Gold
More pure country based, this has a bit of that punk angle to it, as well. This isn't quite a ballad, but it is slow and mellower. It definitely has a serious twang to it.
If Jesus Was a Gunfighter
Here we get another rocker. This has some healthy helpings of blues rock in the mix. It's another that's somewhat in D.O.A. territory. It is also another highlight of the set.
Jukebox Rose
More of a country folk tune, this works pretty well. I definitely prefer some of the more rocking things, but this has some real merits.  The country instrumentation in the mix is among those merits. The lyrics are classy, too.
Evil Wind
I love this hard rocker. It's another candidate for my favorite here. The guitar fills are all class, and the punky edge is so cool. Southern rock on steroids seems to be the order of business here.
Tattooed Cowgirl
Another rocker, there are some hints of ZZ Top here. Yet, I can also make out some of that D.O.A. angle, too.

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