Music News

Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash

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.

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.

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Jonathan Bond