The Whipsaws are a bar band…. a glorious, alt. country ass kicking bar band. Just listen to the tossed off rock and roll of their sophomore effort, 60 Watt Avenue. Though Neil Young is the easiest influence to infer as the band moves from Crazy Horse style rockers to Harvest-era ballads with ease, the Whipsaws are clearly doing their own thing, adding up electric guitars, prominent lap steel, banjos, and fiddle and calling it “Alaskan Rock N Roll”. In this respect the best comparison to make would be the Drive-By Truckers, who are found of calling their own southern-rock sound simply, Rock N Roll. That’s what the Whipsaws aim to do and man if they don’t knock it out of the park. From the crunchy guitar driven rock of “Jesse Jane” and “Bar Scar” to the country driven “Coming Home” and “Stick Around”, the band finds the glorious cohesion of the landmark ’68-’72 era Rolling Stones.
The highlights of the record for me are a trio of songs, “Lonesome Joe”, “The War”, and “Seven Long Years”. “Lonesome Joe” is a folky song driven forward by pedal steel and banjo and contains singer-songwriter Evan Phillips most heart felt vocal. “The War” is a rocker with a topical theme and a classic chorus, “when they give you that gun, you better thank the lord/ for give you the strength to do his chores/ your dad will be proud and your mom will bake cookies/ to send you away like a young green rookie”. “Seven Long Years” ends the record with a rockin’ sing along folk song about trying to get the girl back (gave up drinking for 7 years….talk about sacrifice). Featuring a guest appearance by Tim Easton, the song sounds like an ebullient blowout, a catharsis after a long evening of trading songs back forth over a campfire and a bottle of whiskey.
check ‘em out here… www.myspace.com/thewhipsaws
About the author: College Radio DJ at WUSC-FM 90.5 in Columbia, SC