Rex Hobart

The Spectacular Sadness of Rex Hobart & the Misery Boys

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Much like Mike Ireland and Holler or Dale Watson, Rex Hobart and the Misery Boys fit in with the "alternative country" scene only to the extent that they're playing stuff no one looking for country & western airplay is going to bother with these days -- this isn't country-rock, this is old-school honky tonk music served straight up, with no chaser. While Hobart's lyrics are sometimes a bit wordy compared to his obvious influences (Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, and the rest of the Bakersfield crowd), and his sense of melody is occasionally a shade dour, his tales of drinkin', cheatin', and getting on the wrong side of trouble are effectively cut from the classic mold (especially "Bridge Burners Union (Local 36)," "Barstow Barstool," and "Forever Always Ends"), and Hobart's strong, resonant voice is just the right instrument for his material. Hobart's band gets high marks as well, especially J.B. Morris on lead guitar and Solomon Morris on pedal steel, and Lou Whitney's rich, clean production gets this on tape with a minimum of fuss. Not top-shelf honky tonk, but well worth a listen for enthusiasts, and it'll keep you from hearing Shania Twain for 38 minutes.

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