Saturday, June 7, 2008
A new CD from Denny "Deadly" Earnest and friends
Denny Earnest and the Hot String Trio
Atomic Bar & Grill
2007 Denny Earnest (601693000249)
It was like getting a letter from a long lost friend when the CD Atomic Bar & Grill by the Hot String Trio arrived in the mailbox last week. Two thirds of the trio is made up of Denny “Deadly” Earnest and Kenny "KD" Jones, who both were part of Deadly Earnest and the Honky Tonk Heroes, a popular Northern Ohio band from that time in the 70’s and early 80’s when country and rock music collided. But they were never a Lynyrd Skynyrd or Marshall Tucker cover band, but featured there own original material that was more on the Bob Wills side of country music. At the time, they were one of the only Cleveland based bands that had, at least for a while, a real national record deal with Mike Nesmith’s Pacific Arts Records. But then MTV came along, country rock faded from the airwaves, local bands like Flatbush and Buckeye Biscuit drifted apart, and Deadly packed up and moved out west, to that wide open cowboy land that he had spent years writing and singing songs about.
There are thirteen tracks on Atomic Bar and Grill, twelve new songs plus “Stray Cat’s Home," a cut from the 1980 album Deadly II that features Ernest in a bluesy duet with country Diva Starr Smith. The new songs all have a swing beat to them, and feature Earnest on vocals and guitar; Jones on fiddle; and Bill Watson on upright bass. Also featured on several tunes is New Orleans swing clarinetist Jim Frigio. With titles like “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee,” Bartender Lou,” “Hot String Swing,” and “One Day at a Time,” Earnest still shows that he can write a tune and play the guitar, and still loves that part of the country where the Great Plains meets the Rocky Mountains. The CD also features Jones's fiddle playing, and why he still ranks up there with the Johnny Gimbles of the world.
I sat on the front porch and listened to this CD from beginning to end twice, and for a moment I was back at the Greenville Inn on a hot summer's night, and the place was packed and everyone was drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon and there were people swing dancing Texas style out in the parking lot to Deadly and the Honky Tonk Heroes up on the stage. Now if we can only get the three Deadly Earnest and the Honky Tonk Heroes albums from back in the day put out on CD I would die a happy man.
To purchase a copy of Atomic Bar & Grill go to http://cdbaby.com/cd/hotstringtrio, for more about Denny "Deadly" Earnest and his music visit www.dennyearnest.com.