The Bonedrivers

Roadhouse Manifesto

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San Francisco roots rockers the Bonedrivers call their debut album Roadhouse Manifesto and kick off said debut with a Johnny Winter-style blues-rocker called "Who Burned My Building Down?" that suggests an affinity with hardcore biker-bar rock and soul. Oddly enough, however, most of the rest of the album is made of considerably more lightweight stuff, culminating in a heartfelt but not at all bluesy cover of the old Burt Bacharach-penned girl group chestnut "Baby It's You." This is not meant as a slam, because in fact, the bluesier material on Roadhouse Manifesto (the lengthy Muscle Shoals-style instrumental groove of "Macon Bacon," the anonymous Chicago stomp of "Get It!") is considerably weaker than guitarist Keith Karloff's more pop-oriented material. Songs like "Lou Ann" and "Live to Ride" have the jangly guitars and pop hooks of classic Tom Petty or Marshall Crenshaw singles, married to a beefier rhythm section that makes the record rock fairly assertively even on the ballads. The blues lifts are undoubtedly a blast to play live, and they're probably a lot more fun to hear in an authentic roadhouse as well, but on record, the Bonedrivers clearly have another, more fruitful, road to travel.

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