Traditional honky tonk may be dead, but don't tell the Hacienda Brothers that -- they not only think it's still alive and kicking, they play the stuff as if their lives depended on it. An inspired collaboration between rough-hewn singer/songwriter Chris Gaffney and Paladins guitar picker Dave Gonzalez, the Hacienda Brothers' debut album gets marvelously sympathetic production from Memphis R&B legend Dan Penn, who also lends his estimable songwriter skills to two cuts, and obviously encouraged the band to walk the fine line between old-school country and old-school soul, hitting an emotional sweet spot that's deeply affecting. If Gaffney doesn't have the smoothest vocal instrument in the world, it richly communicates in the manner of Waylon Jennings and Johnny Paycheck, and he writes hurtin' songs with the best of them, while Gonzalez's sharp, concise guitar lines would have done any number of Bakersfield pickers proud. The Hacienda Brothers don't bring a wealth of new textures to the sound and structure of classic country, but they play in the time-honored manner with grit, soul and passion, and that's what has always set the best of this music apart; this album isn't the sound of two guys rehashing the past, but proving how much can still be said within the boundaries of the honky tonk style, and it's a true pleasure to hear.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming