Local Wire

Those Darlins @ The Rhythm Room

On the surface, old-school country and punk rock seem polar opposites, given the different instrumentation and the noise level and all. But they actually have plenty in common. After all, in their purest forms, both have to do with the various forces that conspire to make your life a living hell — love (or lack thereof), death, and "The Man," for example. It's just that one advocates crying in your beer to feel better, while the other suggests going out and fucking some shit up. But there's nothing wrong with drinking, crying, and fucking some shit up (not necessarily in that order), or adding a little crunch to your twang. The two genres come together nicely, ergo the rise of cowpunk a few decades back. When it's done well (think X, the Mekons, and Jason & the Scorchers, for example), the hybrid feels entirely natural. Those Darlins — the youthful Tennessee trio featuring guitarist Jessi Darlin, bassist Kelley Darlin, and ukulele player Nikki Darlin (all three sing, and onstage they're joined by a drummer) — do it so damn well they're truly the best, most exciting cowpunk flag-bearers out there for a new generation. They're sassy, whip-smart, and energetic. They love their whiskey. They appreciate country tradition and punk mayhem in equal measures. And they write classic, memorable tunes and make them kick even more ass in concert. We'll drink to that.

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Michael Alan Goldberg