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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Review: Truckers Tracks Vol. 2: Hard Times

Truckers Tracks Vol. 2: Hard Times
2009, Straight Up Sound

Straight Up Sound returns with their second compilation dedicated to the Kings and Queens of the road. Truckers Tracks Vol. 2: Hard Times picks up where Vol. 1 left off, moving more heavily into Blues/Rock territory. Johnny Neel returns for the second collection, along with artists Russell Gulley, Joe Tackett, Adam Jones, Chris Anderson and The Levees, among others.

Hard Times opens with The Levees on Hard Times, a grinding Southern Rock number with roots in The Blues. Its ZZ Top meets Stevie Ray Vaughan in three-and-a-half minutes of danceable rock you're sure to enjoy. Johnny Neel brings his backwoods bombast on Long Haul, a gritty truck-driving anthem that sounds like Joe Walsh is sitting in on guitar. Russell Gulley kicks in an inspired performance on Greenwood Mississippi, stripping things down to himself, an acoustic guitar and harmonica. There's real poetry in this song, and the rustic arrangement is a perfect fit. Joe Tackett goes Honky-Tonk on Lucky In Kentucky, a gentle warning about the dangers of canoodling in the Bluegrass State.

Johnny Neel returns on the soulful Love To Burn, sounding a bit like RL Burnside with a gospel choir and a Blues flavored jam you won't forget. Doodle is pure Rhythm N Blues and my personal favorite on the disc. Adam Jones has himself a winner in this track certain to be a concert favorite. Chris Anderson shows off some wonderful blues guitar chops on Driving Out Of The Blues, although the song itself wasn't particularly memorable. Russell Gulley re-appears with Peace Of Good Earth, another acoustic and sparsely arranged song that is pure old South. Hard Times closes with Darius Radd on the bland Angels Coming Home. It's a decent enough song but not really a fitting coda for what's come before.

Truckers Tracks Vol. 2: Hard Times stays well with the intent of the Truckers Tracks compilations without sounding derivative. In fact, there's heavier blues-flavored material here than on Volume 1. Highlights are Russell Gulley (in general) and Joe Tackett's Lucky In Kentucky. Johnny Neel delivers strong performances as expected and Adam Jones shines bright. The sudden switch in flavor for the last track doesn't kill the album, but certainly isn't a great way to close off what is, up until then, a highly dynamic and energetic album. Overall it's a positive experience.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

To learn more about the Truckers Tracks compilations and the artists involved, visit You can also check out our review of Trucker Tracks (Vol. 1) here. You can order Truckers Tracks Vol. 2: Hard Times as either a CD or download through

1 comment:

Isuzu Trucks said...

Interesting article, thanks for sharing.