The Derailers


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There's good news for lovers of genuine country music: Texas Music Group is reissuing a number of recordings originally released by Watermelon. In this particular case, that means the Derailers' 1996 release, Jackpot, will be available again. Stated briefly, the Derailers play honest-to-God honky tonk, just like Buck Owens did way back in the '60s. Of course, vocalist Tony O. Villanueva, guitarist Brian Hofeldt, and bassist Vic Gerard only use the old Bakersfield sound as a blueprint. They're perfectly capable of writing good songs like "My Heart's Ready" and "Tarnished Love," which bring honky tonk kicking and screaming into the contemporary world. The age-old country themes, however, remain the same. There's love lost and found, the joys of clean rural living, and the pie-in-the-sky dream of hitting the jackpot. In "This Big City," a country boy feels at home among the bright lights...until his girl leaves him, while "Vision to Dream On" extols the right of a man to dream even when he knows better. To keep things interesting, the boys even throw in a little rockabilly on "She Left Me Cold." The Derailers may not be the saviors of country music, but compared to their Top 40 Nashville colleagues, these guys are a fresh breeze from Texas. Direct in its execution and results, Jackpot succeeds by offering a bit of red meat to old-time honky tonkers and the alternative country crowd.

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