The Backyard Devils – Honkytonk Heartbreaker

Album Review | Self Release | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 3/5

From the opening few bars of “Rambling” it becomes immediately obvious that The Backyard Devils have a raw energy ready to share with anyone in close proximity. Twangy guitars, gravelly voices, attitude in spades and an immediate groove best served in a late night bar that stocks good whiskey. It’s Rockabilly at its core complete with a well-slapped upright bass together with the skittering shrills from its little sister the mandolin. Christien Belliveau’s lap steel comes across as completely devoid of coyness, rather an extrovert such as on “All I Want to Do”, where it effectively steals the show. The New Brunswick-based outfit are also able to deliver the sort of Flatt and Scruggs bluegrass that first caught our ears as Bonnie and Clyde created havoc on the streets of Texas during the Depression, “Gospel” and “Morning Peeler” are both testament of this. Mostly self-penned, the songs also feature a pretty faithful take on the Stanley Brothers’ “How Mountain Girls Can Love”, albeit with an almost sneering vocal. Complementing the music is the cover, a sepia shot reminiscent of Hopper’s Nighthawks painting, likewise conjuring the afterhours. If there was any doubting this band’s ‘road’ credentials, look no further than “Hard Times”, which is laced with images depicting the flip side of the perceived glamour of it all.