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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Review: Brent Amaker And The Rodeo - Howdy Do

Brent Amaker And The Rodeo – Howdy Do
2008, Gravewax Records

Brent Amaker And The Rodeo bring a gothic style to classic country music on their second album, Howdy Do. Amaker sounds like a cross between Phil Harris and Johnny Cash with inertial melody lines that don’t require significant vocal stretches, or outright spoken word parts in place of vocals. Formed from the remains of various Seattle area bands in 2005, Brent Amaker And The Rodeo have found their sound on Howdy Do, focusing on sparse instrumentation (guitar and two-piece drum kit) and Amaker’s iconic voice.

Howdy Do opens with I’m The Man Who Writes The Country Hits, sounding like classic Johnny Cash updated for today. When Love Gets To A Man continues in the classic vein with a cynical eye on the concept of love. Howdy Do is a fun classic country romp full of double entendres and barely disguised intentions. Girls Are Good is Amaker’s ode to Gloria Steinham (check it out to see what I mean). Knock You Out is a song that many readers will identify with, even if from daydreams. There is someone in your life you’ll want to dedicate this one to. The highlight of the album is This Is The Gun. It’s the catchiest, most interesting composition on Howdy Do. Other highlights include They Make Cowboys In Montana, Walkin’ In My Sleep and My Cheatin’ Wife.

Brent Amaker And The Rodeo bring country music back to its most basic, bare-bones form on Howdy Do. The stylistic comparisons to Johnny Cash abound, from the singing style to the bare instrumentation to the fact that Brent Amaker dresses all in black. These songs are simplistic, yet have a rough and tumble nature that make them endearing. Amaker will shock and surprise you throughout the thirteen songs presented on Howdy Do. We found it very entertaining, although it is probably only an occasional listen going forward.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Brent Amaker And The Rodeo at or You can purchase a copy of Howdy Do at

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