Kentucky Knife Fight

Live at Stagger Inn, December 14, 2006
(self-released)

The five fellows in Kentucky Knife Fight are proud to call Edwardsville, Illinois, home, so it makes sense that the band recorded this five-song live document at the city's beloved Stagger Inn. Even though it was recorded over a year ago, it's doubtful that Kentucky Knife Fight has changed its tune too much since then; the band is steeped in greasy licks and swampy bar-band blues, the type of rock & roll that has the shelf life of Velveeta. Singer Jason Holler lives up to his name with equal parts carnival barking and distressed soul exhorting. Guitarists Nate Jones and David Wiatrolik trade reverbed riffs and crunchy, short-circuited chords while the rhythm section holds it down with a little swing and a lot of rockabilly swagger. The tunes collected on Live don't stray much from the garage-rock formula: There are drivin' songs, cheatin' songs, and leavin' songs — all of which, when played in a bar, translate into drinkin' songs. Things slow down a bit with "Wild Irish Rose," which modulates from a minor-key waltz into a full-blown funeral dirge. The closing track "Nothing To Lose" trades up the live fast/die young ideal into a frenzy of blustery harmonica and chugging guitar. It would seem that the purpose of this EP was to give new listeners a brief introduction to the band, but it's too bad that this isn't a full set — the disc is over just as things start to cook.

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