Sunday, November 25, 2012

New Texas Alt Country Discovery - J. Charles and The Trainrobbers - Upon Leaving

J. Charles and The Trainrobbers is a Dallas-based outfit playing punk-inflected country rock with the added bonus of some really gorgeous pedal steel. Produced by Centro-matic's Matt Pence, this record has a big sound that belies the fact that it's their first release. Put another way, this band has surely been refining its chops for years - they don't come out of the box sounding this strong.

From the opener's mournful a capella harmonies to the hard rocking guitars of later cuts like "Something", Upon Leaving sets the level high and keeps it high throughout. Strong, strong choruses and, again, I just can't say enough about the pedal steel. The band's lineup consists of J. Charles Saenz (Guitar, Vocals), Steven Visneau (Drums), Justin Young (Bass, Vocals) and Danny Crelin (Pedal Steel Guitar). Saenz's vocals are a bit reminiscent of a younger John Mellencamp, but this is much more C&W-leaning. Other touchpoints may be the Drive-by Truckers or Jason Isbell, in their harder-rocking country moments.

Here's a video of them performing "Something" - check out the way they build to the chorus and layer in the vocal harmonies and pedal steel on top of a very strong country rock sound:

J. Charles and The Trainrobbers is a welcome addition to my collection of terrific alt country from the DFW area (Centro-matic, Slobberbone, Old 97's)... looking forward to hearing more from them. The record is available via the label End Sounds.

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