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Hell's Half Acre

Blacktops & Blackouts – 2003 (Pioneer)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Hell's Half Acre

The debut from Louisville, Ky. insurgent country rockers Hell's 1/2 Acre displays influences ranging from punk rock to rockabilly to traditional country. The opening two tracks "Hellbent" and "Interstate" are reminiscent of The Clash with some twang mixed in, with the vocals of guitarist Little John Lewis also recalling those of the late Clash frontman Joe Strummer.

Another apparent major influence is Elvis Costello as the cover of Hank Williams' "Why Don't You Love Me" is a dead ringer for Costello's punkish version on his album "Almost Blue." The band also does the Little Willie John tune "Leave My Kitten Alone," the song made famous by the Beatles that was also covered by Costello. The rockabilly feel is present in "Not the Kind of Girl," while "Wind Me Up" is pure honky-tonk. "Rearview Mirror" and "Pack of Lies," as well as the closing live track "Copenhagen," are in the mode of 70's country rockers. Most of the songs are written by bassist Rankin Mapother, and the band is rounded out by lead guitarist Steve McCabe and drummer Glen Hoverton.

Though no new ground is broken here, Hell's 1/2 Acre delivers a promising debut effort. (502-456-4589, E-Mail: rankin0007@yahoo.com)