steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Various Artists

"Showdown" CD

Black Hen Music

Genres: alt country, country rock, country-folk

Black Hen Music
Box 74661, Kitsilano
Vancouver BC
V6K 4P4

Jul 14 - 20 2003

Showdown is a collection of "22 golden nuggets from the Vancouver/Victoria R.A.N.C.H. community."  What that means is you get a delightful selection of alt. country tunes from the city that just snatched up the 2010 Olympics.  Bands like Coal, Radiogram, Bottleneck, and The Deadcats contribute tunes, and it all comes off as being an excellent taste of the scene.

Musical styles range from energetic rockabilly (Graham Brown & the Prairie Dogs' "Shotguns, Cacti and Vengeance", Swank's "Devil Sway") to calmer, more downbeat material (Coal's "Down In Flames", Radiogram's "Off On A Cloud").  While a few of the songs are duds, there are also many moments of brilliance on this disc.  JT King's "Northern Towns," for example, is melodic country-folk at its finest, and "Hustler's Lament" by Bocephus King is all you could possibly want in a fireside song.

Nobody does alt. country quite like the folks in Vancouver and Victoria, and the Showdown compilation is out to prove it.  If you've got a soft spot for the genre, you're going to definitely want to hunt down this disc.  Nuggets it isn't, but hey, it's still dang fun.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 22 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2002]