Country Dick Montana, vocalist/drummer for the Beat Farmers, finished this debut solo album shortly before his death. Though the aneurysm that stopped him at the age of 40 could not have been predicted, he lived a hard life and battled throat cancer in his last years, so the references to death, which start with the title and the flaming cover (Montana's concept), are not entirely coincidental. Still, when he sings, "I'll die happy with a smile on my face" in "Party Dolls and Wine," a song with a sudden, unexpected ending, the ironies abound. As last statements go, however, The Devil Lied to Me is an unusually joyous statement. Montana had a resonant bass voice that dominates the record, even in the presence of such guests as Rosie Flores, Dave Alvin, John Doe, Katy Moffatt, and Mojo Nixon. The material gets more twisted as the disc goes on, until Montana's persona, with its barroom swagger and interest in sex and stimulants, is well established. Given the singer's untimely departure, it may be heard as a cautionary tale, but it's hard to believe he would have done it (the record or his life) differently if he'd known what was going to happen.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann