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Hillbilly Casino

Three Step Windup – 2008 (Self-released)

Reviewed by Ken Burke

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CDs by Hillbilly Casino

Wild rockabilly guitar and hyper-kinetic punk rhythms highlight this 14-song set by the Nashville-based Hillbilly Casino. Working entirely with original material, lead vocalist Nic Roulette, vocalist/ guitarist Ronnie Crutcher, bassist Geoff Firebaugh and drummer Andrew Dickson smartly alternate their musical approach. When operating punk mode, Roulette unleashes his gravelly scream on such fast moving jive as the highly caffeinated "One Cup Beyond" and the hard charging "I'd Rather Be Lonely." Equally intense are such mid-'60s style garage rockers as the hard charging "Broke Down" and the paranoid yet atmospheric "The Hole."

However, the disc truly triumphs when the group brings in shades on small combo country with Crutcher's vocal on the trucker ditty take-off "Big Dan," the Johnny Cash inspired "You'll Have Me," and the swing-laden "Whiskey." Stray Cats style rockabilly is redrafted for the overdrive live version of "Shoe Leather" and the incredibly catchy anthem for the Bettie Page/tattooed crowd "Spank Me."

Although Roulette's vocals occasionally work against a song's lyrics and traditionalists may blanch at the quartet's hybrid approach, Hillbilly Casino's rampant energy creates genuine excitement and danceable high octane fun.