Honky Tonk Confidential

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AllMusic Review by Jason MacNeil

Although from the Washington, D.C., area, the quintet which composes Honky Tonk Confidential sounds as if they were pulled off of a gin-soaked Texas barroom floor. From the lap steel and subtle tickle of the ivories on the title track, the band comes across as having years under their thick silver belt buckles, thanks in large part to the sharing of vocals. "Goin' Round the World" tends to be a bit highbrow or much too wordy to fit the song's structure, coming across like a commercial jingle. The rockabilly on "Rock Creek Crawl" more than compensates for it though, having a lot of energy and jump from start to finish. The songs performed by Diana Quinn appear the most genuine of the lot, particularly the "Mockingbird"-influenced "Daddy's in a Honky Tonk Downtown or the Irish swaying of "I Love the Bartender." One of the more interesting numbers is the quasi-surf instrumental of "Sancho Panzer," which could fit in any spaghetti Western film. The high point is the soft, gentle, acoustic-driven narrative of "I Don't Believe in Angels," which is lyrically and musically simple and pretty. But it's a close second for "Check-Out Time," a Merle Haggard reference within that certainly doesn't hinder the tune. If there's any slight problem honky tonk purists may take offense at, it could be "Pee Wee's Gone," as well as "Hi-Tech Redneck," both of which pander too much to humor and wisecracks. On the whole, though, Quinn hits the nail on the head when she sings about pre-Stetson "real country songs," which this album beautifully harks back to.

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