When listening to country-folk-bluegrass bands that clearly have rock leanings, the first question becomes: Why not have a drummer? Take Denton's feisty sextet A.M. Ramblers, for example. These guys pick, grin, shout and carry on like someone's got a hot poker dangerously close to a sensitive area—yet nary a rhythm section is to be found on their otherwise solid debut.
Andy Cox and Brandyn Littleton front this rather homely collective, and it's quickly apparent on such numbers as "Santa Ana" and "Seven Shots of Tequila" that these guys have talent, both as composers and instrumentalists. Check out the shouts of "I live life" on the propulsive latter cut for some genuine rural enthusiasm. And while the band comes out of the gate strong with "Travelin' Train," there is a slightly belligerent grasp on tradition that slows down the proceedings. While a band (and obvious influence) such as The Pogues transcended the folk milieu, countless others stubbornly stick to the bluegrass blueprint of six guys fiddling and yodeling in a cornfield. Thankfully, A.M. Ramblers has the guts and gumption to overcome ties to a tradition that can best serve the band as a starting point, not a resting place.