Hightone Deaf | Music | Phoenix | Phoenix New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Phoenix, Arizona
Navigation

Hightone Deaf

American Music: The Hightone Records Story boxed set (Hightone Records) is extremely likable in concept. The imprint is a hardworking indie out of Oakland that has spent the past 20 years documenting modern roots music. In fact, Hightone has released records by some of the last great bluesmen, including R.L...
Share this:
American Music: The Hightone Records Story boxed set (Hightone Records) is extremely likable in concept. The imprint is a hardworking indie out of Oakland that has spent the past 20 years documenting modern roots music. In fact, Hightone has released records by some of the last great bluesmen, including R.L. Burnside, Pinetop Perkins, Otis Rush, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, and Henry Gray (all of whom are featured on this four-disc label retrospective). But the majority of this boxed set consists of legendary musicians sadly past their prime (Sonny Burgess and Hank Thompson), such costumed retro novelties as Big Sandy, and an ungodly number of country and "Americana" acts from the '80s and early '90s that all sound a little too much like John Cocaine Mellencamp during his "Pink Houses" phase. I mean, this stuff (The Blasters, Ted Roddy, The Skeletons, etc.) is just so totally retro that it makes even The Jayhawks sound edgy by comparison, which is ironic because America's folk tradition used to champion mavericks and radicals. At least, that's what Bob Wills taught us.
BEFORE YOU GO...
Can you help us continue to share our stories? Since the beginning, Phoenix New Times has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix — and we'd like to keep it that way. Our members allow us to continue offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food, and culture with no paywalls.