Outlaw country is all about doing the best you can with what you were dealt in life. No excuses. No regrets. In that way Hellbound Glory and their self-described “scumbag country” are the archetype of the modern (upper-case) Outlaw movement. Compared to the current crop of Nashville (lower-case) “outlaws”, Hellbound Glory has a look and sound that makes you believe that, even if they may have not personally lived the life in their songs, they very likely have been close to someone who has. They describe the life of those on the lower end of the economic spectrum with intimate detail without resorting to cliches and stereotypes (cough…BrantleyAldean…cough).
From start to finish, the characters in Damaged Goods are people that are easy to relate to. Like many of us, they are trying their best to make the most of their lives, but despite their efforts they seem destined to fail. At times they fight the inevitable to their last breath (“Knocked off That Horse”), other times they accept it and enjoy the ride (“Bastard Child”, “Till the Lights Go Out”). But in the end, they realize that no matter the situation you were born in to, what you do with it is your own choice and within your own control (“You Better Hope You Die Young”).
As with Hellbound Glory’s previous releases, musically they are once again very solid. They let their musicianship shine on the more lighthearted, uptempo romps, but keep it subdued on the ballads. Lyrically, they paint such vivid portraits you can almost smell the stale beer and burnt crack. Not to mention they wrote one of my favorite lines of the year: “If your gone I’ll be a goner/I’m gonna hit the ground like a shot down B-2 bomber” (“Gonna Be a Goner”)
This isn’t the type of country you’re gonna hear on your urban, soccer mom listening, mini van driving, corporate controlled, mega-Clear Cumulus radio station. And that’s a good thing. Listening to country-lite helps keep the masses off the Valium. Keep the real stuff for those of us that can handle it.
Definitely Essential Listening.