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The Ex-Husbands

All Gussied Up – 1999 (Tar Hut)

Reviewed by James Mann

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CDs by The Ex-Husbands

The second effort by The Ex-Husbands is a tear-stained, beer-soaked balm for the broken hearted. From the top-notch songwriting and Hall of Fame vocals of Anders Thompson (whose Telecaster picking is A-One as well), to the bass and vocals of Mark Miller and the rock solid drumming of Michael Smith, this threesome might be the best country trio since Johnny Cash played prisons.

Songs such as "Line Forms on the Right" and "Memories Ain't Allowed" should become the rallying cries of the barstool lonely and blue everywhere, and the twang boogie of "I'm Just a Honky" or the ZZ Top-laced "Beer Joints" are juke-joint mating calls. Thompson and company have long been regarded as a top-notch live act, and with this release they take a step toward the stage of the Opry with a consistently great record, the kind you don't hear too often any more - country music by and for grown-ups. If you listen to this record and your heart doesn't remember past loves, then son, somebody stole your pumper.