Bill Kirchen

Hammer of the Honky Tonk Gods – 2007 (Proper American)

Reviewed by Robert Loy

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CDs by Bill Kirchen

Bill Kirchen is probably fated to be remembered forever as the force behind those unforgettable licks on the 70's classic "Hot Rod Lincoln," and as musical curses go, it's a pretty benign one. Kirchen seems to have made his peace with it a long time ago. But one can't help feeling that he's been shortchanged by being saddled with just one claim to fame.

After all, on his first album in five years, he again shows his versatility. He can do old fashioned balls-to-the-wall Killer-style rock boogie like "Heart of Gold" or put some much-needed soul into your country on tracks like "Rocks Into Sand." He can even pull off a weeper like "Skid Row in My Mind" without coming across as self-pitying.

His sense of humor is so prevalent that it's easy to overlook until it comes to the forefront as on "Get a Little Goner." And even people who don't know the difference between a Telecaster from a smelly pastor can't help but get caught up in Kirchen's infectious love for the instrument on the title track.

In other words, y'all are gonna drive me to drinkin' if you don't stop making him play "Hot Rod Lincoln."