A collection of gutsy outlaw country in the grand tradition of Merle Haggard, Johnny Paycheck, or George Jones, this CD by Illinois native Steve Pride features Wilco guitarist Jay Bennett and some of the truest honky tonk songwriting since that other Pride's (Charlie) heyday. Actually a loose conglom of early demos from the pre-Uncle Tupelo '90s, Pride on Pride encapsulates a career still hanging in the balance and a sound that should be kicking the dust off of Nashville's ass. A songwriter with deep literary vibes (like his contemporary, Steve Earle, his hero was Townes Van Zandt, and he covers the Phil Ochs tune "Chords of Fame") and a whiskey-soaked voice, Pride brings colorful characters and slightly skewed wordplay together to revel in dashingly drunken ditties like "Drugs, Guns & Cigarettes," "I Prefer the Darker Side of Life," and "The Last Bar in Town." Bennett's guitar playing proves he had his jangly, country-fried pop style down long before he hooked up with Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, and the album itself could've easily been the link between late-'60s artists like Haggard and Jones, early-'80s cowpunks like the True Believers, and postmodern alt-country. Steve Pride released a solo album (Haint) in 1997, but despite critical acclaim, remained on the periphery of the scene. Working as a stage hand, he met Garth Brooks but neglected to slip the superstar a demo, saying simply, "Naw...he probably gets that sh*t all the time."
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AllMusic Review by Tom Hallett