Michael and the Lonesome Playboys – Bottle Cap Sky

Michael and the Lonesome Playboys – Bottle Cap Sky
Blackwater Records – 002
There is only one way you could refer to Michael and the Lonesome Playboys as “commercial” country. That would be if you were driving in your ’55 Ford trying to catch the latest country station on your scratchy AM Philco radio. This may seem a flowery way of saying “retro”, but that is the feeling you get from this L.A.-based roots country act. The style invokes the single-name country legends, (Hank, Johnny, Willie, Eddie, etc.), but there is also a subtle edge that says “Austin” inching some of the vibe towards Americana. Perhaps it is the vocal work of Michael Ubanldini, who blends the pain of Hank Williams with the outlaw recklessness of Waylon, enhancing the vocals that take simple down-home subjects and infuse them with a Townes Van Zandt-ish honest lyrical sense. The songs take you from the land of broken hearts to the wide open asphalt to smoke-filled whiskey-soaked honky tonks. In a way, “Bottle Cap Sky” is a protest against the country establishment that still seems stuck in the big hat era. And while that type of country definitely has its place, Michael’s does as well as it reaches deep into the heart and soul of what made country one of the most popular indigenous American music styles, creating music that is flat-out enjoyable. – MW



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