The best country-rock captures one of my favorite qualities in real country music--the forlorn, foreboding and slightly psychedelic vibe that one gets from listening to an act like the Carter Family--then merges it with the power and drive of great rock 'n' roll. And that's exactly what you get in songs such as "What I Said I Saw" and "These Bodies" by the Royal Pines.
Singer and songwriter Joe Patt isn't kidding when his band's MySpace page (www.myspace.com/royalpines) lists under influences "creepy teenagers and weird old men," while the "sounds like" slot offers "champagne in the cemetery."
A veteran of Columbus, Ohio's fertile garage-rock underground, where he was best known as a drummer, Patt moved to Chicago in 2002, did time in several other local bands and finally came to the front of the stage and formed his own group with lead guitarist Brian Harper, bassist Brendan O'Mara and drummer Joe Gerdeman. To date, the band has one strong and wonderfully creepy album to its credit, appropriately entitled "Old World" and released on Ohio's She He It label, but I for one am eager for more.
(The Royal Pines perform at the Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake, on March 19; visit www.bottomlounge.com for more information.)