Reviews of our new disc, SHOT DOWN

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Ik val maar gelijk met de deur in huis: Shot Down is een verdraaid lekker plaatje van dit kwartet uit Baltimore. Niks – nieuws – onder - de zon- muziek, maar nochtans geen ontkomen aan. Deze 3 de CD brengt rootsmuziek van de bovenste plank, die ongenadig rockt, voortstuwt, doordendert en bovenal in elk nummer een vette groove heeft meegekregen. De elf liedjes zullen de grootste kruk op aarde in beweging krijgen. Luister naar het licht nerveuze garagegeluid in het titelnummer, het herleven van de oude Stones/Berry rhythm & blues in “Yesterday’s Clothes,” de soul in het door Smokey Robinson geschreven “When I Had Your Love,” de bescheiden honky tonk in “Cheating To Lose” en de swamp blues in “Mud In My Eyes” en voor je het weet blijk je te dansen. Barn Burner, chef/liedjesschrijver/gitarist, Bob Kannenberg, heeft een geweldige bariton in huis. Zijn maten geven een mooi staaltje van zeer puntig begeleiden weg: mooie volle akkoorden en een open geluid zorgen voor een oorstrelende ervaring die vanzelf om herhaald draaien vraagt. Muziek voor tijdens een autoritje maar vooral ook om live mee te maken. Dave Alvin, Duane Jarvis en The Tarbox Ramblers hebben in Amerika al van de opwarmkwaliteiten van deze Burners gebruik gemaakt tijdens live - optredens. Wil je een leuk dansfeestje, begin met ‘Shot Down’ en vervolgens met een ouwe Stones: “Its Only Rock ‘n’ Roll and I Like It.” En zo is het! Huub Thomassen, Real Roots Cafe

When you name your band The Barn Burners, you shoulder the weight of a heavy responsibility. You’d better be darn sure your group kicks ass, exudes attitude, and ably captures these qualities on tape. The aforementioned Baltimore quartet does all three on its recent disc, Shot Down. With producer Dave Nachodsky at the board, the group swaggers through 11 rockers that twang and crack in all the right places. Even the song titles—“Everything Was Crooked,” “Yesterday’s Clothes,” and “Rockin’ with Viola (at the Laundromat)”—are spot on. John Lewis, Baltimore Magazine

We promised our friends, Bal'more's Barn Burners, we'd let everyone know how good this alt.rock band is. Well, don't take if from us, hon, here's how good: despite releasing only three discs, the Burners already have a pinball machine built and named for them. Damn, that's sure to impress most people, doncha think? 'Specially in France, where le flipper-play is something of a national pastime. The French are also sure to find tres amusant the literary aspect of The Barn Burners, as one of the songs is taken from a poem, another, "Yesterday's Clothes," sounds like it was written by Lou Reed circa '69, and a Hank Williams composition, "Moanin' The Blues," is well, it's a Hank Williams song and so it's just educated to attempt to interpret it. Yet there's nothing pretentious about the Baltimoreans’ brand of heartbreak, betrayal and hard living. Just the opposite, since most of this is offered up with a sly wink and a knowing tip of the hat. That's what makes the idiot serial dater in "Cheatin' to Lose" more a loveable loser than a symbol for man's hound dog ways, and the cuckholded lover in "Throwin' Your Life Away," more comic than maudlin, as his cutting wit is such that he unintentionally betrays who was really at fault for the relationship's failure. See, that's all literary because it involves irony. But enough of this deconstructionist interpretation, the primary thing is that this is roots rock with a strong dash of country by a quartet that ain't skeered to take on r&b with Smokey Robinson's "When I Had Your Love," blues in "Mud in My Eyes," honky-tonk and rockabilly. Oh yeah, if you're wondering whether the band is engaging in a little braggadocio with the name, check out the incendiary "Shot Down" and "Said the 7 to the 11," they rock like nobody's business. Dom Salemi, Brutarian Quarterly

Atomic Twang, the fledgling record label run by Benn Ray, owner of Atomic Books in Hampden, has opened its presses with records by several local alt-country bands, and the Barn Burners may be the best of them. Their debut, Shot Down, is a set of eleven straight-ahead barroom country numbers that range nicely from brilliant, jukebox, walking bass break-up tunes ("Cheatin' to Lose") to raucous stompers ("Said the 7 to the 11"). Singer Bob Kannenberg sings with the kind of twang that can only come from a guy who doesn't actually speak with any twang, because he's not from the South, but he makes up for it with his tales of urban cowboy-dom, which include visits to the scrap yard and a girl who knocks him out in "Yesterday's Clothes". His songs also capture just the right amount of wounded pride alpha-male heartbreak ("When I Had Your Love") to make them truly country. In "Throwin' Your Life Away"--a lament to an ex-girlfriend on the eve of her wedding--he tells the bride-to-be that she'll regret her decision, that she'll cry, and that her mascara will run, "a stain you just can't remove" on her white wedding dress. He also has a good dose of spurned-lover bitterness. "I guess my invitation got lost in the mail," he says. "They screen all my letters in the County Jail." For most of the songs, drummer Bonanza D. Jones tunes his snare drum high enough that it sounds like a punk-rock kit, but the band never really gets hard enough to be playing in the same league as Uncle Tupelo or the Reverend Horton Heat, both bands that have clearly influenced them. They could also stand to throw in a bit more vocal harmony, or at least to produce it well enough to make it audible. Otherwise, they have their basics down, and they've got the right sneer. Robbie Whelan, The Johns Hopkins News-Letter

Dit is de derde cd van het in 1995 opgerichte bandje uit Baltimore. De vorige twee dateren van 1996 en 2000. Niet erg productief dus, dit gezelschap, maar ik vermoed dat ze ook het best renderen op live optredens. Het resultaat mag er echter zonder twijfel zijn. Het betreft hier namelijk een best te pruimen rootsrockplaatje vol aanstekelijke deuntjes. De opener Shot Down vind ik persoonlijk nog het minst sterke nummer. Je zou het kunnen omschrijven als een garagerockachtige song. Slecht begin, maar gelukkig had ik nog voldoende moed om de rest van de cd aan een diepgaande luisterbeurt te onderwerpen. En dat viel dus uitermate gunstig uit. Nummer twee, Trowin’ Your Life Away zou door The subdudes geschreven kunnen zijn. Everything Was Crooked is een erg leuke singer-songwriterrocker (wat dat ook moge betekenen, maar ik vond het wel een leuk woord) met een mineur onderklankje. Beetje een Damon Bramblett gevoel. En ondanks dat ik na drie weken luisteren nog altijd niet weet aan welke band mij dit groepje het meest doet denken, doe ik gewoon enkele pogingen: Rainravens, The Hollisters, Elliot Murphy, Robbie Fulks, Dave Alvin... Geregeld wordt er stevig ge’rock-n’-roll’d zoals in Said The 7 To 11. Af en toe wordt de blues uit de kast gehaald en in een persoonlijk kleedje gestoken. Vooral in Moanin’ The Blues krijgen we daar een staaltje van. Ze doen het duidelijk allemaal op hun eigen manier en die is zeker leuk te noemen. Besluit: een combinatie van rootsrock met het betere singer-songwriterwerk. Leuke melodieën, een herkenbare licht nasale stem, ja, liedjes die er zeker mogen zijn. Luc Lenaerts, RootsTown Music

Shot Down is the third effort from Baltimore’s Barn Burners (their first since 2000’s Alibis) and builds on the momentum of their earlier work. While still a rock'n'roll record through and through, Shot Down is the Burners most musically varied disc and is filled with more hooks than Babe Winkelman ’s tackle box. The title track is a raved up rockabilly that opens the album with a jolt while "Cheatin' to Lose" is a tale of infidelity that is also sure to fill the dance floor. "Everything Was Crooked" is one of many songs released this year that comments on the war, but not the war you’d expect. The World War II tale reflects on life during those tough times through the eyes of lead singer and songwriter Bob Kannenberg’s father and grandfather. “I asked my daddy why we cheated those men/he said son they’re cheating us/more than we could ever cheat them.” The harmonica solo that closes "Crooked" serves as the emotional highlight of the album. "Throwin' Your Life Away" is the disc’s catchiest tune and is a delicious tale of malice aimed at an ex who is about to walk down the aisle. “Are you doing this for love/are you doing it for spite/or just because the drug store was closed one night…you’re throwing your life away.” Shot Down is a record that deserves a wider audience and is one of my favorite records of 2004. Here’s hoping that we don’t have to wait until another four years for the next Barn Burning. Steve Schmidt, InsurgentCountry.com

Hopefully this Baltimore quartet’s third outing (on City Paper contributor Benn Ray’s Atomic Twang label) will separate the meat and potatoes honky-tonk fans from the carb-counting tourists. True to the rekindled fire in roots-rock, singer/songwriter Bob Kannenberg’s songs seem to follow the right format, starting with a character, a scene, or just a really bad day. Now just add a drawl, small-town setting, and appeals to homespun wisdom. What separates Kannenberg’s yarns from the average bear is the utter absence of polish and prettiness. He knows well enough that twang is but a surface, that honky-tonky gets its gritty guts from a lack of country affectations and rock ’n’ roll pretensions. It helps that Kannenberg has a voice only a deaf mother could love. Because it’s not the dulcet sound that counts; it’s what you can do with what your maker gave ya that sells stories. That’s why Kannenberg and the Barn Burners are closer kin to a cat like Gurf Morlix than, say, Whiskeytown and the Jayhawks and all their Western shirts. Nothing about Shot Down hits the ears dressed up. “Throwin’ Your Life Away,” a kiss-off from a guy to a gal getting hitched—“Are you doing this for love?/ Are you doing it for spite?/ Or just because the drugstore was closed one night?”—feels like bar banter, not workshopped songcraft. The giddy, galloping backbeat to “Cheatin’ to Lose” permits the song’s womanizing sweet talker to be the sort lovable asshole everybody knows. And “Rockin’ With Viola (at the Laundromat)” finds Kannenberg nailing a souped-up rockabilly dance number with that rarity of rock ’n’ roll rarities: a tasteful guitar solo. Shot Down, the Barn Burners’ first in four years, cruises along like a well-kept classic car. Kannenberg may have kept his songwriting engine garaged for a few years, but it runs just fine. Bret McCabe, Baltimore City Paper

This is one of those bar bands that somehow manage to take their sound into a studio and come out with the same magic that they create on stage. This is their third album and they are rockin’ the honky tonks and clubs harder than ever. Those looking for a band to fill the void left by the Blasters and some of Doug Sahm’s rockier sides can stop looking and start listening. One of the best Saturday night albums we’ve heard in a long time. Old school music at old school prices. Village Records

The Barn Burners hebben hun vaste honk in Baltimore, Maryland en sinds hun ontstaan in 1995 verschenen er juist geteld twee cd's : Tobacco Sunburst ('96) en Alibis (2000) beiden op Run Wild Records. Met hun derde album Shot Down debuteren zij op het label Atomic Twang. Onder leiding van Bob Kannenberg, lead vocals & rhythm, lead en slide gitaar / harmonica en songwriter van dienst ( acht zelfgepende songs ), slagen de Barn Burners er weer in om honkytonk shuffle's, swamp blues en rockertjes à Berry/ Richards ( luister maar eens naar Rockin' with Viola en Yesterday's Clothes ) zo te doen klinken dat je iedere keer , nou ja, drie cd's in een tijdspanne van acht jaar, uitkijkt naar nieuw materiaal van deze band. Iets waar de zelfde groepsbezetting zeker aan bijdraagt : Paul Thomas, lead, rhythm & 12 strings gitaar, Tony Vittoria, bass & backing vocals en Bonanza D Jones, drums, percussie & backing vocals zijn net als op " Alibis " weer van de partij. Ook producer Dave Nachodsky laat zich weer van zijn beste kant zien : 'nervous guitars and frantic toms', meer moet dat gewoon niet zijn. The Barn Burners deelden reeds de affiche met Dave Alvin, Robbie Fulks, Duane Jarvis en dit deed bij mij een belletje rinkelen : deze jongens stonden ooit op Blue Highways, dus de link is gauw gemaakt : editie 2005 The Barn Burners in Utrecht of Ospel en mocht ik ( maar wie ben ik ? ) het voor het zeggen hebben op BRBF Peer 2005. Aanrader !! (SWA). Francois Braeken, Rootstime

A new CD from the Barn Burners is always welcome. This Baltimore band has a rough rock'n'roll style that suits me. It is not a band that lives on the retro wave, instead their music is timeless. The sound is build around fat guitar chords, a rough singer and a stable rhythm section. The song material is impressive. They have always been great on straight rock'n'roll songs, which they still are, but this time I think songwriter Bob Kannenberg has taken his writing to a higher level. Here are songs that directly will fit in on the partytape, but also those that you when you listen to them several times, you see that they have more dimensions than you first thought. Shot Down is their third CD and their most worked through. Jan Andersson, Dusty Records

A TWANG-FEST! Four years in the making, The ‘Burners hit you upside the head with a twangly n' jangly, totally fun, bar room rock vengeance! Kool Kat Musik

The Barn Burners are a shotgun marriage between The Blasters and The Smithereens. Shot Down, these Baltimore boys’ new CD, is (what else?) a barn burner. “Yesterday’s Clothes” has a Stones’ vibe while “Cheatin’ To Lose” has an old school Bakersfield feel to it. The pumped up title track and “Everything Was Crooked” shows their flair for no-frills rock and roll. It’s like getting in a car with a new friend whom you suddenly realize pays scant attention to stop signs, red lights or posted speed limits. Buckle up. Tony Peyser, Santa Monica Mirror

The Barn Burners' brand of sizzling roots rock pays tribute to a variety of things including '80s jangle pop, English pub rock, swaggering country-blues and good ol' rockin' Americana. All the while, they never stray from a unified sound that is clearly the work of a band not clinging to some flash retro craze. The members of this Baltimore, MD based band have been around long enough to have the roots of classic rock and deep country as part of their true musical foundation. They naturally reach an effortless hybrid as a result. Shot Down, their third full-length release, plays from one tight, memorable song to the next, with chief Barn Burner Bob Kannenberg out in front, commanding with a sharp, biting vocal. His presence and delivery brings to mind a CBGB heyday-era rocker whose VU/Lou Reed influencsse hasn't quite sloughed off yet, especially on "When I Had Your Love". "Why I Run" recalls Sticky Fingers era country-rock, while not so far off is the reverb-heavy "stripper" rock of "Mud In My Eyes"; Raunch-a-billy, you might say. A wildly entertaining ride, to be sure. Miles of Music

 

Kudos for ALIBIS, the second CD
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With Alibis, East Coast roots rockers the Barn Burners prove their highly enjoyable ’96 debut, Tobacco Sunburst, was no fluke. Alibis is a sturdy follow-up that features more memorable songs from leader Bob Kannenberg, and some killer guitar courtesy of new guy Paul Thomas…No Alibis necessary. The only thing the Barn Burners are guilty of is making a damn fine record. Joe Krocheski, No Depression

The Barn Burners' sentimental side is bittersweet and enticing. In a high-lonesome mood, a la the Stanley Brothers, "Big Tree" marries contemporary experience with traditional bluegrass and hill music in a meditation on the universal need for family and love; it's a strong link in the musical chain that connects America's music back to the Old World. Throw in some fine pedal steel by Neil Eber and Alibis is both interesting and accessible, a menagerie of American music's finest qualities. Produced with a light touch by Dave Nachodsky and the band, every cut counts. This one is radio-ready and tempting, the perfect disc to pop into the car player -- crank it up and just drive. Jana Pendragon, New Times LA

Opener “Whippin' Boy” sounds like the way the Stones haven't sounded anymore after Exile On Main St., “Dice Are Loaded” rocks away smoothly and “Thinkin' Hard And Drinkin' Harder”--snappy pedal steel from Neil Eber--could be a slogan for every cafe worthy of its name. RootsTown Music

Here's the recipe for the Barn Burner's musical stew: Take a big heaping helping of the Stones from their "Let It Bleed" countrified era, toss in some slicker Bakersfield twang ala The Derailers, and add Bob Kannenberg's nasal, slightly gruff vocals, creating the perfect compliment to a late night in a smoky bar with a tall bourbon…Easily the highlight of the record is "Hey Little Darlin’," a catchy 3-minute rockabilly ditty that you'll still be singing long after that tall bourbon has turned into a wicked hangover. Sparechange Magazine

Alibis is polished enough to show that the Barn Burners take their craft seriously while making it clear that they still believe rock'n'roll is supposed to be fun. And what could be more fun than listening to a band hit its stride? Steve Schmidt, insurgentcountry.com, July 2001

Props for, TOBACCO SUNBURST, the first CD
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"The Burners first studio release Tobacco Sunburst delivers the raw energy and intense vibes endemic to their live performances. The album's opening cut, "Smokin' into Mexico," had me pushing my way to the front of the line to enter a packed Baltimore club." Joe Krocheski, No Depression

"Fronted by Bob Kannenberg, this band is one of American roots rock's best, Tobacco Sunburst displays a knowledge concerning American music that is rare." Jana Pendragon, What's Up

"Tobacco Sunburst is a fine introduction to the band for anyone who has yet to have the pleasure live: an even 10 examples of twang-heavy rockin' with more than a hint of country-cuz drawl." Lee Gardner, Baltimore City Paper

"Don't expect psychobilly insanity or ducktailed revivalism...the Burners go for a Jason and the Scorchers-meet-the-Blasters twangin' roots vibe." Washington City Paper

"Kannenberg writes songs full of automobile metaphors, Chuck Berry riffs, twangy guitars, and punk-staccato rhythms...the album on the Run Wild label leaves the rough edges on, but there's an undeniable energy at work." Geoffrey Himes, Patuxent Newspapers

"Everybody's showing their roots these days, but this veteran local combo was digging up and mixing up the choicest bits of rockabilly, blues and country with aplomb back when most contemporary neo-roots enthusiasts were still flying the grunge flannel. Factor in the fact that Bob Kannenberg's originals don't shame the classic covers, and you can expect a hot time from the Burners." Baltimore City Paper

"Tobacco Sunburst serves up seminal rock and country with plenty of energy and attitude." Mark Jenkins, Washington Post

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