Costa Levante News

Cowpunk in Orihuela

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By Barry Wright THE ROUGH-edged country music that sprung up around Bakersfiel­d, California in the late 1950s was a rejection of the slick, over-produced country sounds that were coming out of Nashville at the same time.

The raw sound that sprung up out the town’s honky tonk bars is best identified by two of its most well-known ambassador­s Buck Owens and Merle Haggard.

The Bakersfiel­d sound has also gone on to be influentia­l and evident in many other artists’ music: Gram Parsons, Flying Burrito Brothers and Dwight Yoakam can all be identified with this rough diamond country cousin.

Los Angeles band country punk outfit Speedbuggy USA has been in existence for eight albums, they ‘grab their musical influences from the deep southern swamps of Louisiana to the dusty inlands of Bakersfiel­d California where twang was born’.

Their latest album South of Bakersfiel­d – released after a seven-year hiatus, whilst was time to drive to the hospital. His doctors told him that he had a brain aneurism around his brain stem and probably wouldn’t last the night (70% of all aneurisms are fatal). They were astonished that he was able to walk into the hospital one of those is the delightful South of Bakersfiel­d.

I use the word ‘delightful’ not in a twee kind of way, but in a fashion that recognises the infectious­ness of the tunes and the proud homage that the band pay to the ambience of the area. Of the eight tracks, seven are unmistakea­ble influenced by the town, whilst the eighth, Rusted Cars talks about the effects of Hurricane Katrina on Louisiana - Timbo’s home state.

Honky tonk, rocking country, and elements of cowpunk give the album a foot tapping, truck driving feel, how ‘happy hour ain’t happy no with all of the expected more’. country themes such as long The subject matter is purely journeys, love and the bottle, incidental, when Speedbuggy and the day to day drudgery of USA want to have a party and a working life. get the audience honky tonkin’

South of Bakersfiel­d, is a they will. few steps away from the band’s So if party time, country original cowpunk roots, but the punk and a right old knees up, musiciansh­ip, quality songwith the occasional tear stained writing and Trimbo’s voice letter, is your bag acquaint yourtransp­ort the listener to the self with Speedybugg­y USA. home of many dustbowl miThey are delightful­ly good grantsfun.andtheasso­ciatedtria­ls Sand tribulatio­ns. outh of Bakersfiel­d and a

Although Bakersfiel­d was a couple of other of their redestinat­ion for many down-atleases are available on Spotify, heel migrants it does not mean YouTube gives viewers a great that the music is all tears into insight into the band’s kick a** my whiskey laments. live outings and, of course,

Country music, more than should readers like what they many other forms, is not hear and see the only thing for ashamed to get people up dancit is to get along to Orihuela’s ing to lyrics that reveal the provery own tiny part of Bakerstago­nist ‘starting to drink field… La Gramola on May 11. again, one sip at a time, or

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