When you open up the (Western) swingin' doors on the Lucky Stars' latest album, its first in nine years, you'll find there's still plenty to make you want to spend all your money and stay out too late. The long-running Hollywood-based group delivers on the fun and then some.
The "then some" are 13 instantly memorable songs, all written by lead vocalist Sage Guyton. Guyton's delightful, laidback approach as a singer, and top-notch playing from an excellent, exciting lineup that includes Dave "Pappy" Stuckey on drums.
And the fun? Well, it's evident the minute you press play. The opening title track gets the sparks going thanks to Jeremy Wakefield's hot steel guitar playing. The aforementioned "hole-in-your-pocket" syndrome is covered on the clever "$100 and No/sense," and the slinky, Stuckey-sung "The Way You Walk" is a town-council upsetting standout. There's also "I'll Go the Extra Mile," a rowdy kiss-off that has the band playing off each other to great effect. "Glycerin Tears," "Whose Hat is That?" and the album-ending "The Last Call Blues" are among many other pleasures.
The territory The Lucky Stars covers is certainly nothing new; proponents of tune wrangling and dirty-thinkin', soon-to-be-governors had their way with it long before. But The Lucky Stars stir up the dust in fine style without seeming like they're checking off a list (13 Western Swing Songs and the Dudes Who Love Them) as they go.