Now this is some real country music, fellow babies. Heybale has the real, honest to God country sound I grew up listening to in the 60’s and 70’s. I didn’t realize just how much I missed this sound until I plugged this CD in.
The Austin, Texas outfit has become a Sunday night way of life in and around The Continental Club, where they are creating their own legend and mythology. People flock to hear the all star band every week. No small wonder. These guys are living legends.
Made up of some of the finest country studio and live side men anywhere, including Redd Volkaert (Merle Haggard) on guitar and Earl Poole Ball (Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, The Byrds) on piano, Heybale is everything that is good about classic country.
They have really hit the mark with their first studio record, which features mostly original compositions that sound like a real country music history book.
Consider Gary Claxton’s vocal on “California Wine,” which rings out with a real Merle Haggard vibe. Volkaert gives Willie Nelson's "Mr. Record Man" a great cover with Cindy Cashdollar on pedal steel, and Claxton delivers Tom T. Hall's "That's How I Got to Memphis" with tons of heart and country soul. The group also smokes Erik Hokkanen instrumental "Heybalin'," with Volkaer dishing up some smooth guitar reminiscent of Sugarfoot Garland.
"Everything ... About Drinkin'" evokes the very spirit of Roger Miller, and they swing it Bob Wills style on swings "Hang Your Head in Shame," featuring Elana James on fiddle. Aw, play it boys.
If you love old school country, Texas swing, and just damn good music, check out The Last Country Album, and let’s home this is not the last country album from Heybale.
-Michael Buffalo Smith