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Music Review: The Bottle Rockets – South Broadway Athletic Club

The Bottle Rockets, formed in the early ‘90’s, are one of the pioneers of the country/rock/bluesy Midwestern style that rose out of the punk scene and continues to grow in popularity today.  South Broadway Athletic Club is the band’s 12th album, but the first recorded in their hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.   Considered to be the leaders of the ’90s alt-country/roots rock revival along with peers Uncle Tupelo, the Bottle Rockets are contemporary storytellers from Middle America. Their songs with strong social commentary reflect their influences of Woody Guthrie, Neil Young and The Replacements. The foursome, fronted by Brian Henneman and includes Mark Ortmann, John Horton and Keith Voegele, is currently burning up the airways on Sirius XM’s Outlaw Country channel.

The down and dirty country guitar licks are impossible to listen to sitting still.  This is music that makes you want to get up on your chair and if not sing along with, to clap and cheer throughout the performance.  The album is exceedingly well produced by Eric “Roscoe” Ambel (of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, The Del-Lords, The Yayhoos) and is full of new experiences for the band. Working at Sawhorse Studios, it was also the first time they scheduled sessions in batches over several months, allowing the songs – and the whole album – to fully breathe and unfold. The result is impossible to ignore if you’re a fan of this genre.

Throughout their entire career, The Bottle Rockets have managed to stay true to the rabid music heads as well as casual dial-turning everybodies. After 20+ years, they’ve come out on the other side stronger and more energized than ever before, proactively writing their own creative arc. Against the odds, the Bottle Rockets are a true American success story. Consequently, South Broadway Athletic Club is an album as relevant as their formative early work; political by not being political, re-affirming our greatest aspirations by focusing on the tiniest of truths.

South Broadway Athletic Club was released last month by Bloodshot Records and is currently available on iTunes and Amazon for digital download. You can find tour information for The Bottle Rockets at http://www.bottlerocketsmusic.com/

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