By Gabriel Ricard
The Train Wrecks have only been releasing music for the last three years. That isn’t terribly noteworthy until you actually sit down and listen to a song like “Desert Gunfire.” It’s not just a great piece of lyrical storytelling, well within the traditions of their musical heroes. The song is a well-tuned and well-played blast of old-school country and blues. There’s also just enough southern rock to give them a sense of sincerity in where they come from and what puts so much energy into those vocals, guitars or harmonica.
“Desert Gunfire” is their most accessible track. It’s the kind of thing that’s going to stay catchy in spite of what you think you know about this kind of music. The song never hides the history that’s created it. Instead it celebrates those other songs that helped put it together while retaining that originality that’s so essential to its success. Nostalgia is fine. Plenty of that can be found in the foot-stomping fury of “She Was the One,” but lead singer Jason Bible and the other three that make up the group know better than to simply rest on what they know their audience will like. The kind of people that know what they like and know they like this are already coming to the show. The Train Wrecks don’t need to worry about them, even though these songs are written with them in mind first and foremost. The people they want to grab hold of the most are the ones who have made up their mind long before they’ve even listened to them.
Some might think this isn’t their kind of thing. They make the mistake of assuming that guys like The Train Wrecks can’t offer up terrific words backed by some powerful, creative musicianship. A song like “Isaak” should change their mind in a hurry. In less than three minutes, “Isaak” manages to be a wistful, strangely sad story that’s also funny as hell. The furious bit of blues and country also puts the best of their musical talents on the strongest display possible.
The Train Wrecks could very likely be successful in any genre they want. It’s a sense of potential that runs through any song of theirs the listener is fortunate enough to experience. That’s another thing that makes their music so very worth the time. To hear them is almost the same as actually seeing them live. Energy is rather important to making these songs retain their necessary honesty. Jason Bible, Eric Dunn, Markus Kuhlmann and Stuart Harmening each create that energy with room to spare. Not a moment seems like an act or some desperate attempt to put together the right image to accompany the music. Without ceremony or a marketing campaign The Train Wrecks launch into their best material and never bother looking back. The listeners who already know what they like will pick up on that in a matter of seconds. The rest of the room will take a little longer to get there, but they will. Guys like these are almost daring you to take a listen and then still admit you don’t normally go in for this kind of thing. Doing so will prove to be rather difficult but also a whole lot of fun. —GR