By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
They started out friends, playing with a rotating setlist of old country favorites at local bars. And, soon enough, they found the desire to write their own 10-gallon tunes. Now, The King Bucks has both a Monday night residency at Adair's Saloon and an eponymous full-length album to its name.
Throughout the surprisingly clean disc—which was recorded live in-studio, with just one or two overdubs—there's an interesting dynamic at play: The vocalist of each song is also its writer. For instance, when bassist/guitarist Danny Balis channels whiskey-soaked Jim Reeves with his track "It's Over," it's because he also wrote it. And he nails it, too, as Chad Stockslager moseys along the keys and Joseph Butcher effortlessly and brilliantly glides over his pedal steel.
Stockslager's songs, meanwhile, are led by his smooth tenor and laden with harmony ("Dallastown" and "No More Fatties"), while Keith Killoren's gruff voice balances traditional country influence with contemporary rock essence—sounding almost like a young Neil Diamond—on his penned tracks ("Girl from the City," for one).
It's not quite as gritty as the Bucks' live show, but, in the end, the band's debut is at once Nudie suit, Texas Playboy and Branson, with a few tears shed at a dive bar and a can of Lone Star thrown in for good measure.
Catch the Bucks at its two CD release parties this week: at Good Records on Thursday and at Adair's on Friday.