Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

The Bottle Rockets 

Not So Loud: An Acoustic Evening With the Bottle Rockets
Bloodshot Records

The Bottle Rockets has stood tall on local and national stages over its fifteen-plus-year tenure, but that doesn't mean that Brian Henneman's rootsy combo has stood still. If you were lucky enough to catch the boys as Marshall Crenshaw's backing band earlier this year, you know that the Bottle Rockets is as adept at smart, streamlined pop as it is at working-man Americana. So this acoustic disc shows another facet of a band that's normally more at home when bathed in Telecaster twang. On Not So Loud, the band strips down to acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin and upright bass, and this new set-dressing gives a warm and stark frame to Henneman's no-bullshit songs.

This collection was recorded over two nights in April 2007 at the now-shuttered Lucas School House, so its appearance now is only a little puzzling (then again, this band is no stranger to delayed release dates). But with the benefit of hindsight, we can hear how guitarist John Horton and bassist Keith Voegele — then relatively new members to the band — had already settled in. Any BoRox showgoer knows that half of the fun comes through hearing Henneman's stage banter, and a few such moments are preserved here. His tale of struggling to get a good view at Dolly Parton at a long-ago VP Fair gives a new context to "Perfect Far Away," and his "here goes nothing" approach to the live, acoustic recording undercuts the band's spirited and spot-on performance. The deliberate banjo plucks and blustery harmonica lend the classic "1,000 Dollar Car" a darker edge, while the high-speed mandolin strums turn "Rural Route" into a foot-stomping hootenanny. But the acoustic setting works best for Henneman's most naked moments, and that makes the tender acceptance of closing track "Mom & Dad" sting all the more sweetly.

Want your CD to be considered for a review in this space? Send music c/o Riverfront Times, Attn: Homespun, 6358 Delmar Boulevard, Suite 200, St. Louis, Missouri, 63130. E-mail for more information.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 20, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation