BR5-49

Riding the retro rail armed with everything a gussied-up hillbilly could possibly need, BR5-49 restores fun and frivolity to country music with no pandering and no slapstick. They treat the honky-tonkers of the '50s and '60s with polite reverence; this should be the face of the Grand Ole Opry.

With:
Band: Gary Bennett, "Hawk" Shaw Wilson, Don Herron, Chuck Mead, "Smilin'" Jay McDowell. Guest: Big Sandy.

Riding the retro rail armed with everything a gussied-up hillbilly could possibly need, BR5-49 restores fun and frivolity to country music with no pandering and no slapstick. They treat the honky-tonkers of the ’50s and ’60s with polite reverence; this should be the face of the Grand Ole Opry.

But the attraction here is in their throwback fashions, harmonies and material that suggest simpler times and all the cliches of country music — broken-down trucks, losing your woman and your job, and basically being too drunk to find your way home. As instrumentalists they swing as well as any band in the current swing fad and they use all of vintage country’s tried-and-true tricks: twangy guitars, weepy pedal steel, slap bass and high lonesome voices.

“Big Backyard Beat Show,” the group’s second studio album on Arista, however, attests that they aren’t maturing as much as they’re perfecting the act. BR5-49, seen as one of the few acts that can show young rock fans that country isn’t all big hats and tight jeans, avoids being a goof, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t close.

The act needs more original songs that draw a line from country’s hillbilly roots to modern music and they certainly have the tools to pull influences from anywhere. Otherwise, they’re just soaking in it.

Judging from Wednesday’s show, BR5-49 can be too steady, too predictable and eventually, bland. When Big Sandy, who leads the Western outfit the Fly-Rite Boys, took the stage to play guitar and sing, the act got a sudden injection of new life: a baritone voice, a harder rhythm and little less booming on the bass — a brief inclination of what this music could be.

BR5-49

Roxy; 450 capacity: $15

Production: Presented by Goldenvoice. Reviewed Aug. 5, 1998.

Cast: Band: Gary Bennett, "Hawk" Shaw Wilson, Don Herron, Chuck Mead, "Smilin'" Jay McDowell. Guest: Big Sandy.

More Music

  • Chester BenningtonWarner Music Group Grammy After

    Linkin Park Pays Tribute to Chester Bennington on Anniversary of His Death

    Riding the retro rail armed with everything a gussied-up hillbilly could possibly need, BR5-49 restores fun and frivolity to country music with no pandering and no slapstick. They treat the honky-tonkers of the ’50s and ’60s with polite reverence; this should be the face of the Grand Ole Opry. But the attraction here is in […]

  • Willie Nelson

    Willie Nelson to Release Frank Sinatra Tribute Album ‘My Way’

    Riding the retro rail armed with everything a gussied-up hillbilly could possibly need, BR5-49 restores fun and frivolity to country music with no pandering and no slapstick. They treat the honky-tonkers of the ’50s and ’60s with polite reverence; this should be the face of the Grand Ole Opry. But the attraction here is in […]

  • Watch Pusha T Perform ‘Santeria’ With

    Watch Pusha T Perform ‘Santeria’ With 070 Shake and The Roots

    Riding the retro rail armed with everything a gussied-up hillbilly could possibly need, BR5-49 restores fun and frivolity to country music with no pandering and no slapstick. They treat the honky-tonkers of the ’50s and ’60s with polite reverence; this should be the face of the Grand Ole Opry. But the attraction here is in […]

  • Radiohead Coachella

    Radiohead Demands Answers in Drum Technician's Death

    Riding the retro rail armed with everything a gussied-up hillbilly could possibly need, BR5-49 restores fun and frivolity to country music with no pandering and no slapstick. They treat the honky-tonkers of the ’50s and ’60s with polite reverence; this should be the face of the Grand Ole Opry. But the attraction here is in […]

  • XXXTentacion

    Four Men Indicted in XXXTentacion’s Murder

    Riding the retro rail armed with everything a gussied-up hillbilly could possibly need, BR5-49 restores fun and frivolity to country music with no pandering and no slapstick. They treat the honky-tonkers of the ’50s and ’60s with polite reverence; this should be the face of the Grand Ole Opry. But the attraction here is in […]

  • Cristian Pity Alvarez Accused of Murder

    Argentine Rock Star Cristian 'Pity' Alvarez Accused of Murder

    Riding the retro rail armed with everything a gussied-up hillbilly could possibly need, BR5-49 restores fun and frivolity to country music with no pandering and no slapstick. They treat the honky-tonkers of the ’50s and ’60s with polite reverence; this should be the face of the Grand Ole Opry. But the attraction here is in […]

  • 'Spyro' Composer Returns With New Main

    The Police's Copeland Composes New 'Spyro' Main Theme

    Riding the retro rail armed with everything a gussied-up hillbilly could possibly need, BR5-49 restores fun and frivolity to country music with no pandering and no slapstick. They treat the honky-tonkers of the ’50s and ’60s with polite reverence; this should be the face of the Grand Ole Opry. But the attraction here is in […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content