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The Derailers - Under The Influence Of Buck
Review By: George Peden, CSO Staff Journalist

Before you let out a long-winded groan, one along the lines of “What, not another tribute album?” Wait up. This is no ordinary get-rich musical scheme aimed at eager fans, hatched in an upstairs record office off Music Row by suited moguls with the bottom line as the only consideration.

What’s on offer here from The Derailers is more, much more than that. This is a capital "T" Tribute album. An album made by a group of renowned Austinites who, like true fans, hold the memory of their hero high. This is a tribute, a respected nod to a timeless talent: Buck Owens.

Buck Owens, a main model for the Bakersfield sound, died on March 25, 2006. His music, and many of his hits, comes remembered on Under The Influence Of Buck. It’s a 13 track homage to a music legend. The Derailers, proud, loud and traditional, seldom stray too far from the familiar, but there is enough distinctive subtlety to mark this as their own sound.

And what a sound. The twang charged album is held secure with the drawling vocals of Brian Hofeldt. Hofeldt, who took over main microphone duties when Tony Villanueva moved on, is comfortable, melodic and captivating. And as a long-time fan of Owens, Hofeldt delivers the known and mostly remembered hits with a honky tonk flair that would make Buck proud.

There’s no shying away from the task The Derailers have set for themselves here. They deliver with a big sound, showcased and carried with edgy guitars, wrapped up in time-honored songs.

The 13 cuts all of which Buck had a hand in, except for the Chuck Berry inclusion “Johnny B Goode”, should make most fans happy, as many of Owens’ chart climbers have been included. But, and there has to be a but, the obvious is with so many hits, and Owens had 21 major hits, some have been lost in the shuffle. But cuts like “Foolin’ Around,” the 1959 classic “I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail”, and the heart-pullin’ ache of “Cryin’ Time” will keep the faithful hooked, while the lesser-known “Who’s Gonna Mow Your Grass” will snare the curious. “Sam’s Place” a musical image of a jumpin’ club (Buck owned the Crystal Palace in Bakersfield) and the revealing tale of sort out fame and fortune, found when you’re “Big In Vegas,” serve as history markers to the life and times of a guy who took his name from a family mule. 

The guy with the distinctive voice, wide hat and customary blue, red and white guitar has left the stage. We miss him. But The Derailers have set about paying an enthusiastic musical tribute to keep his memory alive.

Save the groan. They have succeeded.

Get the album.

The Derailers: Brian Hofeldt (lead guitar and vocals); Ed Edkins (guitars, vocals); Scott Matthews (drums); Sweet Basil McJagger (piano and organ) and Chris Schlotzhauer (Pedal steel, Dobro and vocals).

The album is out on Palo Duro Records, produced by Brian Hofeldt. 

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