These Bastards earned permission to use the Man in Black's name from Johnny Cash himself, and while they are not really his blood, they do offer up a nice helping of working-class outlaw country that some of Johnny's cronies ably could have made in the 1970s. While BSOJC have taken on some more traditional rock elements since the straight-up tear-in-my-beer twang of their debut, 2001's Walk Alone, the band still fits firmly in the Willie/Waylon school of honky-tonk music.
Distance Between, last year's follow-up to Walk Alone, finds bandleader Mark Stuart torn up inside and needing to moan about it, often sounding like a countrified Bruce Springsteen. While never as haunting or scary as Johnny Cash, the Sons so manage to fill the gap between alt-country and that shit on the radio these days that is passed off as country music.
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This is sturdy country rock from, ahem, San Diego, but don't let the Southern California stamp fool you. BSOJC feels more like Southern Comfort.