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The Derailers: Soldiers Of Love 
By: George Peden, CSO Staff Journalist

There were many fans and industry observers who thought the worst. Many figured when founding father Tony Villanueva left The Derailers, well, the band would follow their moniker by jumping the tracks and hitting the buffers. Wrong. Revamped and organized, The Derailers return with Soldiers of Love.

Several years back, Villanueva decided, after 11 long and road grueling years, the time had come to move to more genteel pursuits away from late-night honky tonks and loud crowds. More time with a growing family, more time to spend on refining his songwriting. There was also God. Born again, Villanueva felt a spiritual calling to follow a path into the ministry. He did, finding a pastoral calling in Texas. However, the band was not forsaken -- salvation came with co-founder Brian Hofeldt.

Hofeldt, a Derailer from day one, refocused after Villanueva’s split on New Year’s Eve 2003 and decided to keep the band going. Now with renewed energy, a front-line role as main vocalist and a slew of new tunes, Hofeldt and his buddies come to this latest venture pumped and primed. The new album is sure to claim fans, both seasoned and new.

With respected producer Buzz Cason, a 50-year music veteran at the console on this the band’s seventh outing, the album fires with a blend of rock, roll, and solid country. Throw in an instrumental for balance and versatility, “Poppycock,” homage to the iconic Man in Black on “An American Man,” and a raft of potential hits in the waiting, and this stands tall as a memorable Derailers release.

While the masses deliberate on how this stacks up to earlier album outings like Genuine, the stellar Dave Alvin produced Reverb Deluxe, and the dated (1996) personal favorite Live Tracks, there’s enough musical integrity on Soldier of Love to keep the ear attentive and the repeat finger active.

The album kick starts with an ode to the genre: “Cold Beer, Hot Women” and Cool Country Music”. Piano charged and guitar vibrant, the track is a perfect opening for guys who prefer suits to denim, and who proudly cite Buck as their driving influence. “She’s A Lot Like Texas,” is a standout. It’s an infectious harmony piece that once it bores deep is hard to shake loose. “Soldier Of Love” is a retro-laced memory complete with do-wop harmony, while “Hey, Valerie!” is a hard-pounded route to the dance floor that would have Jerry Lee Lewis leading the parade. Other tracks that gain quick attention include the reflective “Every Time It Rains, the bop-driven chug chug of “Donna Sue Earline” and the closing invitation to hoot and holler, “It’s Never Too Late For A Party”.

Nothing in life is certain. Change comes as a given promise. The Derailers move on, minus their mainstay of many years, and they do it in a committed and real fashion, barrelling their latest release with enough to have fans, this one at least, rekindling earlier interest.

The Derailers are Brian Hofeldt on guitar and lead vocals, Ed Adkins on bass and vocals, Sweet Basil McJagger on organ and piano, Scott Matthews on drums, rounded out with Chris Schlotzhauer on pedal steel and vocals. The generous 14 tracker is out on Palo Duro Records. 

Click on the CD cover to order yours!
1: Cold Beer, Hot Women & Cool Country Music
2: She’s A Lot Like Texas
3: Soldier Of Love
4: Donna Sue Earline
5: The One Before Me
6: Hey, Valerie !
7: Get ‘Er Done

8: Cattin’
9: Every Time It Rains
10: Everything I Believe In
11: An American Man
12: Poppycock
13: You’re Lookng At The Man 

14: It’s Never Too Late For A Party 

Related Links:
Official Site  

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