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Jackpot | Weightless (Munich Records)
Jackpot ?? such an apt name, because this is pure gold. Californians Rusty Miller, Sheldon Cooney and Dave Brockman have laid down before us an album that is, in its own quiet way, pretty important. Punk and Country edge ever nearer union: Just a few short years ago, they were on a blind date, and found that they got on. Mere months ago, they got engaged, but set no date. Whiskey, the focus of, and crucial track on Weightless, has them ordering the cake. Cowpunk has never been better than this song, with a full-on bar-band tilt and Miller's whiney, moany, cracked slacker-drawl. Picture Iggy Stooge fronting Crazy Horse. Besides this seminal moment, Weightless is packed with rock thrills. Opener La-La Land is a paean to lazy Sundays; humorous and lilting, Stephen Malkmus would have been proud to pen this. Piano is twisted Country supreme, with a pining vocal handling a standard theme ?? the-woman-as-instrument metaphor: "If this piano is a woman / I'll find myself a chair / run the comb of my fingers / through reverberating hair." The quietly influential Buffalo Tom surface in the riff and drum pattern of In A Trance, and this is followed by the snaking Dr. John / Whiskeytown stand-off of Waterfalls. Evan Dando will definitely cover the stark, acoustic Cartwheels, and the restrained power of the muscley title track demonstrates what a solid unit Jackpot is. Further on, the inexplicably harrowing insomniac's diary of Bottlecapwindchimes, the lovelorn ballad She's So Cool, and the meaty Zepfest of Queen Bewildered feature in bringing this highly impressive album to a close. The church is booked, the party is on ?? did you receive an invite?

Tom Sheriff
CWAS #8 - Summer 2001