Music News

Slim Cessna's Auto Club's Music Filled with Sin and Sacramental Moonshine

For as long as the folk songs of hillbillies and Appalachian wailers have been called "country songs," the genre has been the province of those tip-toeing between grace and damnation -- Hank Williams, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, the Louvin Brothers, and others for whom the pursuit of holiness often took a backseat to the pleasures of sin. For more than two decades, Slim Cessna's Auto Club has played country songs but expanded outward as well, incorporating elements of punk, rockabilly, gospel, and rocksteady, all the while evoking Christian dread, employing fire-and-brimstone wit, and singing bloody murder ballads.

In that time, the band has developed a reputation as a tremendous live act, and it's well deserved. Led by two frontmen, band namesake Slim Cessna and the wild-eyed Jay Munly, the group's shows feel like violent, apocalyptic hootenannies or gothic church services where the preachers have dipped into sacramental moonshine. (Yeah, that's not a thing, but watching Slim Cessna's Auto Club do what it does, you can imagine it is.)

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.