I had the distinct pleasure to spend a drunken hour or so chatting with Truckstop Darlin’s drummer, Eric Kotila, and his wife out in Denver last month. As drunken conversations tend to do, our topic of conversation was a moving target but it naturally stopped on the subject of his band on a couple of occasions. On the last night of the party it was agreed that once the album was complete they’d send me a copy and I remember saying, “I really hope I like your band” to him as we said our goodbyes. I really liked Eric and his wife and the thought of having to tell him that I wasn’t digging their sounds hung over me like a big ol’ bummer cloud when the link arrived in my inbox. Fortunately, I didn’t have to.
Truckstop Darlin’ comes out of the amazingly awesome music scene of the greater Northwest and more specifically, Portland and they made good use of the resources around town by getting Mr. John Burbank of I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In the House to do the mastering.
I gotta be honest, the first time I listened to the album singer, John Phelan’s voice kind of caught me off guard and I wasn’t too sure what I thought but after a few passes it totally grew on me. If I had to describe his voice I’d have to say it’s almost an 80’s hair metal/beginning of grunge style vocalist singing in an americana jangle rock band. It totally works, it just takes a moment to sink in. Musically, you might be able to call them a more rocking version of The Only Sons (a comparison I’ll gladly admit I use cause they both have predominate slide guitar) or a less rocking version of the copatriots, Root Jack but who cares about describing the sound…that’s what the .mp3’s are for. However, I would be remiss if I did not mention the song “Bluegrass State” (which you can hear below)…it is probably one of my favorite songs of the year and will be featured on many a podcast and mixtape to come.