Sandy Nelson

Country Style

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With Imperial churning out Sandy Nelson LPs at a breakneck pace, the drummer began to explore genres some distance outside of his trademark proto-surf bailiwick. With Country Style, he tackles Nashville hits of the past and present, and if classics like Hank Thompson's "The Wild Side of Life," Jim Reeves' "Four Walls," and Johnny Horton's "The Battle of New Orleans" seem like odd choices for a drummer of Nelson's energy and abandon, you're right. His primal style proves painfully ill suited to these barroom ballads and honky tonk in general, which relies on the kinds of nuanced, consistent backbeats that are anathema to the Nelson aesthetic; if anything, this is Bizarro country, elevating drums to the foreground while relegating guitar and fiddle to the shadows, and the formula falls flat.