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The Hazlewoods | Leavin' You For A Cowboy (Laughing Outlaw)
In these days when alt.country and its derivatives can sometimes come across as a little arch and over-serious, it's great to see a band produce good-time music for its own sake - that is, to make people happy. The Hazlewoods is one such band. Taking elements from the likes of the B52s and Nancy Sinatra in full, These Boots Are Made For Walking mode - with a little bit of Elvis Presley thrown in for good measure - The Hazlewoods create a storm, each song a rockabilly rave anchored by lead singer Carrie Phillis's lung-bursting voice, the sort of raw-powered roar that would frighten the horses from a hundred paces. Phillis, who is assisted on vocals by rhythm guitarist Kim-Louise Barton, holds together the group's amusing, tongue-in-cheek, swinging songs that rely heavily on slide guitar, provided by Matt Allison, who blazes a finger-picking trail through each of the eleven tracks (so much so, however, that maybe the band is replying a little too much on his expertise). Minor quibbles aside 'Leavin' You For A Cowboy' is a hoedown of fun and frolics and country crooning with a nod to punk's energy and directness. As alt.country moves inexorably down new, perhaps more experimental avenues with releases like 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot' and 'Loose Fur', Sydney's The Hazlewoods prove that it's OK to let your hair down once in a while and have a good time.
CWAS #12 - Summer 2003