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Two Tons Of Steel: Vegas
By: George Peden, CSO Staff Journalist

One of the better acts to land in my CD player in ages is the Texas-based Two Tons of Steel. These guys crank. And they do it with a steel-driven sound, propped by tight harmony and electric energy. Currently enjoying wide and varied chart placements, Two Tons Of Steel is a band with a history and a catalog. They also have a measure of fame well regarded in the Lone Star State. However, this latest album, Vegas, may just be the honey pot to draw even further-a-field interest.

The guys will possibly on first listen spark comparisons to memories of the original Derailers. But with their unique brand of twang and foot-stomping revelry -- a source of enjoyment to fans who’ve been to a summer “Two Ton Tuesday” in the last decade at the oldest dance palace in Texas, Gruene Hall -- these guys make their own original noise. And they do it without the need for cloning.

Their recorded history is impressive. Apart from this debut on Palo Duro Records, the boys – Kevin Geil on guitar, Dennis Fallon on guitar and harmonica, Ric Ramirez on upright bass, Denny Matthis on steel and Dobro, with Chris Dodds on drums – have recorded seven albums.

At the helm production wise on Vegas is Lloyd Maines. With the Grammy Award-winning producer onboard, and with a swag of six Geil tunes, the 11 tune set comes fully charged. Also, there’s two standout covers for good measure. “Secret Agent Man,” remembered as a hit for Johnny Rivers, is, well, an interesting inclusion. But it works. So does the fan favorite by The Ramones, “I Wanna Be Sedated”. For a band who took their name in homage to Geil’s restored vintage (1956) hardtop Cadillac, it’s easy to hear why TTOS can draw thousands to their gigs. (Soon, fans will be able to relive the excitement, as the guys are taking orders for a live CD and DVD at their website).

Tracks like “Unglued”, a plugged-in and amped-up free-for-all, telling of potent attraction best caught in the lines: ‘There’s pictures of us…I’d rather not discuss” has the boys laying down rocky riffs that keenly identifies their trademark Countrybilly sound. Listen, too, for “Can’t Stay With You”. Misery never sounded better on the melodic ode to fading love. “Baby You Got Me”, the flip side of the love coin, has Geil oozing on a bed of slapped bass, steel and relaxed sentiment. “Vegas”, the well-worn radio favorite, a track inspired by Geil’s wife’s love of LA, sits comfortably with “Drive You Home Tonight”.

A handbrake comes momentarily applied with the balladry of “Havana Moon”. The tune has become a band trademark with fans. Written after a 1997 Cuban trip, a trip that saw TTOS perform at the National Theatre, it became a group first. TTOS was the only American band to perform there in over 30 years. The tune also cemented the band’s popularity by its prominence on Americana radio.

With shades of everything real about rock’n’roll, paired to the sensibilities of country, mixed into a twang blend of thigh-slapping enjoyment, these guys are hot to trot and easily claim a nod as a band to watch. Many of my friends on hearing this album reckon it’s the year’s best CD. It’s a big call.

You decide.

Buy The CD Now!

Official Site: www.twotons.com 

Vegas song list:

1. Vegas 
2. Drive You Home Tonight
3. Your Kiss
4. Unglued
5. Can’t Stay With You 
6. Havana Moon
7. Secret Agent Man
8. Ice Cream Man
9. Baby You Got Me 
10. I Wanna Be Sedated
11. Red Hot

 

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