Springfield, Mo.'s Domino Kings were riding high after 2000's "Life and 20," a superb album that rightly gained the band national acclaim. But the road got rougher in the ensuing years. First, co-lead singer and songwriter Brian Capps left the band in 2001 after getting in an ugly bar fight with counterpart Stevie Newman. The group's 2002 follow-up, "The Back of Your Mind," recorded without Capps, while enjoyable, wasn't as consistently memorable as its predecessor. Their former label, Slewfoot, hit by distribution problems, went MIA. And then last year, the Kings had several thousand dollars worth of equipment and merchandise stolen from their van outside a Texas hotel.
Perhaps all of that would be "some kind of sign" for most bands to break up. Fortunately, the Domino Kings have not only remained together because their new album reaffirms just how potent their Blasters-Go-To-Bakersfield rockabilly/honky tonk sound is.
The disc is a delight from beginning to end with a heaping batch of great country songs. "It's All Over But the Crying" comes straight from the Buck Owens school of turning a clichÄ into pure honky tonk gold. And "A Million Miles From Here" shows the band can be just as effective with a more contemporary approach. "Pain in My Past," "Every Night About This Time" and "Walk Away If You Want To," one of the few non-Newman penned tracks, are also standouts.
Of course, it's not a Domino Kings record without a murder song, and the band delivers a dandy on the closing "Bridges I've Burned" ("Ten years of drinking and wasting my life/ended up with a bar fight and a bone handle knife"). Morell/Skeleton Lou Whitney provides his surefire production skills to the band once again.
Capps even plays upright bass on two songs on "Some Kind of Sign." And for fans, they get twice as much good music.