Whether or not it's a self-proclaimed moniker, the Supersuckers are the greatest rock and roll band in the world. By default, that would make Supersuckers frontman a contender for the greatest frontman in the world. This is a heavy reputation to live up to, but on Sundowner, Spaghetti's third solo album and first with Bloodshot records, he performs admirably.
While the Supersuckers live shows are always a serious event due to their solid rock and roll, their country sets are just as much fun, blurring the line between punk rock and honky tonk and making everyone happy about it. Spaghetti's solo work reaches to these roots as well, and Sundowner is a collection of originals and covers that span genres in their original form but have been subjected to the cowpunk polish that Spaghetti has made a name for himself doing over the years.
While the original tracks are fun twangy and true to form (and include one rocker, "When Do I Go?", performed by his son Quattro), it's the albums collection of cover tunes that have been subjected to the the Spaghetti tribute that truly make this album worth listening to.
There are a handful of tunes from the expected sources. When Spaghetti rolls through Dave Dudley's "Cowboy Boots" and the line "Well all of my life I been a tryin' to save to get a pair of cowboy boots," it could easily be an anthem to the progression of the Supersuckers' ascension to becoming greatest rock and roll band in the world. His crooning version of Willie Nelson's "Always on My Mind" is proper and referential, and he tears through Johnny Cash's "What Do I Care" with the inspiration of the man in black himself.
As it good as these covers are, though, Sundowner shines with the countrification of its non-country tunes. These include a rocking version of the irreverent Lee Harvey Oswald Band's “Jesus Never Lived On Mars” and Del Reeves' "Girl on the Billboard," a trucking anthem which pays tribute to a girl on a highway sign - most likely the same girl gracing the album cover. Dean Martin "Party Dolls and Wine" becomes a honky tonk classic under the Eddie's hand, and it makes it the only way one can imagine it being done, and when the album hits its highest peak with its twangification of the snotty Dwarves classic "Everybody's Girl," you finally get the point of Spaghetti's take on music - when you front the greatest rock and roll band in the world and flirt with country, you realize how easy it is to blur musical boundaries, and that if a song is good, it can be handled in any way conceivable, even if that way is to force it into feeling right at home at a small, dirty juke joint.
Pop Sundowner in your car stereo, though, and you may find yourself roaring down the highway, looking for a backwoods watering hole with low lights and cold beer and no idea why. They don't put warning labels on albums for this sort of thing, so be prepared and bring plenty of quarters for the jukebox when you get there.
Release Date: February 15, 2011