Gonzo Country

Uncle Ben’s Remedy: The Things That Bring You Back

Uncle Ben’s Remedy

HOME BASE: Western New York

PROFESSION: What you do when you can’t afford to keep playing music

HOBBIES: Trying to keep our shitty equipment and bus in working order, hiding liquor in our road cases and seat cushions.

LAST ALBUM PURCHASED: Diamonds in the Rough, Mr. Prine

LAST ACCOMPLISHMENT: Putting out this damn record, The Things That Bring You Back, available everywhere now!

QUOTE: “I can do another take if you want, but I’ll just keep making different mistakes in different places.”

CRAZIEST ROAD MEMORY: Last time we went out, we scraped up enough money to get a hotel room, only to find a belligerent naked dude staggering around inside. He is now our road manger. That last part may or may not be true.

FAVORITE BEER: Any light beer, just to sober up enough to get back on the whisky

WHO’S THE ULTIMATE COUNTRY PIMP: Harmony’s Grampa Slim. He’s in his 80’s and still playing real country music and working on cars. He regularly tells us we don’t sound very good, and that Jim is his second favorite drummer

FAVORITE ROOTS MUSIC PUBLICATION: Turnstyled Junkpiled of course. Ain’t nothing wrong with having fun with this music, and you cover the weirdos.

PROFILE:  Many today believe that country music has lost its way, and pine for some good ole outlaw country.  Uncle Ben’s Remedy have the cure for those ailments. Their sophomore release, The Things That Bring You Back, is forty-seven minutes of unapologetic, outlaw country.

With songs including “Jesus Never Took The Wheel,” “Long Line of Fighters,” and “Jazz Cigarette,” it’s clear that UBR are coming from the wrong side of the tracks, and their lyrics make it clear that they’re damned proud of it. On “Jesus Never Took The Wheel” they sing, I’m gonna get as drunk as this beer lets me; yeah I’m gonna get as high as a guitar squeal. The track makes it clear that they have no taste for moderation. The turbocharged rockabilly guitars, throbbing drums and Jerry Lee Lewis piano all reinforce this point. On “Angels and Ambulances,” they add, You think I’m wrong and you know you’re right; We both have our reasons to keep our minds locked up tight, showing their unwillingness to compromise. The riotous and hilarious, “All Hat, No Cattle,” evidences their disdain for posers, with the lyrics, Your belt buckle’s probably bigger than your penis; You’re about as Country as Jason Aldean is.

With a voice that’s equal parts Merle Haggard and Dr. Teeth, lead singer Ben Westlund delivers his acerbic lyrics with spit and fury. Like a rodeo bull in a Nashville china shop. Ben and the Remedy Boys shatter the niceties of radio friendly pop country. Their brand of outlaw country doesn’t feature learning from or regret for past mistakes. There’s no “Mama Tried” sentiment, no Johnny Cash, I know I had it comin’, I know I can’t be free, remorse, only living for the moment, consequences be damned.

Among all of the drinking, fighting, and bodies washing up in shallow lakes, UBR still manage to get in touch with their softer side. On the lilting, “Light up a Room,” the band delivers a hand clapping, uplifting tribute to the smile of a loved one, singing I’d give up all my old good memories to guarantee that these three have good ones. The song revealing the heart beneath their gruff exterior. On the jangly tune “O.S.B.,” they sing, We’ll love our way through this; No matter what it is. Even if they’re not entirely ready for redemption, they hint that it might be on the horizon in the tender ballad, Ain’t a Lot of Water. Pining for his distant love, Ben sings, Oh God, I don’t know how I’ll ever keep this speeding van on the road; But now I’ve got a reason to go home. No matter how far one goes in life or what side of the track’s someone’s from, Uncle Ben’s Remedy proves that a person can always count on their loved ones to bring them back.

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Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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