Gunshy, the debut EP from Aiken’s Kenny George Band, is coated in a thick layer of Nashville spit-shine, but it feels miles removed from the Music City machine — a credit to the group’s warm and welcoming execution.
The outfit specializes in a brand of country music that has gone the way of the dwindling caribou in recent years. The focus here is on sincere, well-crafted songwriting rather than chasing some bulls#!t idea of what it takes to become a macho country badass. Bereft of such posturing, Gunshy is dominated by lovesick laments, but like Merle Haggard said, there ain’t no shame in a mixed-up mess of a heart.
What: Kenny George Band
Where: Blazing Copper, 812-814 Harden St.
When: Saturday, June 28, 9:30 p.m.
More Info: blazingcopper.com
Opener “Pocket Full of Habits” is a sparse locomotive of an outlaw strummer. “Not Slipping Away” is a fiddle-driven, toe-tapping ode to infatuation. Pedal steel lines run like teardrops down the up-tempo waltz of “Sad Country Songs.” The lovelorn dirge “Shouldn’t Have Let You Go” harkens back to ’90s hitmakers like Tim McGraw.
These sounds aren’t revolutionary, but Kenny George and his backers deploy them with utmost sincerity. It’s not so much that these players are taking some ham-fisted stance against the endless party that consumes a large swath of modern country, much of which has more in common with Van Halen than George Strait; they simply operate as if the genre never took that odd left turn in the first place.
In a time when country’s mainstream increasingly seems to have lost its way, Gunshy is a welcome sprinkling of genuine Southern soul.
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