Rumble, Shake and Tumble
I never get tired of guys in hats playing in front of hay bales. The Wagons do it as well as any; they've got the sound and attitude down, and their songs soar above the "drunk and lost my job/ truck/ woman/ blue tick hound" themes. Based on the Nashville sound and arranging style, Wagons add unique Australian elements, and on "Love Is Burning," lead singer Henry Wagon obliquely compares his lust to the 2009 Queensland brush fires. His vocals hold that lonely quality all good country singers possess, but he and his band have picked up some indie sounds and their audio mix is unique, crisp, and makes you think "What did they do to make this sound different? Why doesn't Lyle Lovett sound like this?"
Behind Mr. Wagon we find an eclectic entourage of musicians -- there are listed band members and they offer thanks to another four. Perhaps that's the key: they keep switching staff. And judging by the lyrics booklet with pictures of the guys, they have a pack of supermodel girlfriends that just won't quit.
Other noteworthy songs are the bitter "Follow the Leader" with its graphic description of a leech cocktail, the homage "Willie Nelson," and closing track "Mary Lou," which takes us on a heartbreaking reunion with a love that's now way too late to revive. Country music needs more innovative sounds like the Wagons, and perhaps someday they'll get to tour up here where the summers are on the wrong pages of the calendar.