The Bottle Rockets : Not So Loud – An Acoustic Evening With …

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It’s embarrassing to say, but I just didn’t get The Bottle Rockets the first time I gave a spin to 1999’s Brand New Year. In fact, I panned the album for its plain-spoken approach to rock and roll in an album review shortly after its release.

In the 12 years since that review, I have seen the light in showers of color from The Bottle Rockets, largely due to their everyman approach. Using diction that anyone can understand and telling tales that anyone can embrace, The Bottle Rockets speak the truth without any of the pretty bells or whistles.

No So Loud: An Acoustic Evening With … strips away even more from the band. Cutting out the electric riffing and barroom boogie, The Bottle Rockets embrace acoustic instrumentation for loose, ragged, live readings of some of their finest work recorded during two sold-out performances at the Lucas School House in their hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.  And most of the band’s songs translate well to this setting. The workingman classic “Early in the Morning,” downtrodden “Lucky Break,” and heartbroken “Smokin’ 100s Alone” exhale will new life. The rattling  “Rural Route” is true to its name, an uncomfortable dirt-road ride that marks the only disappointment in this collection.

Despite the broke-down feel of some of the songs, there is little tarnish on Not So Loud: An Acoustic Evening With …The Bottle Rockets’ songs are fortified by sweat and blue collar heartache, and whether plugged in or acoustic, these guys do a fine job telling the truth to a soundtrack that promises that things will only get better.

Not So Loud: An Acoustic Evening With … is out now on Bloodshot Records.

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