The Derailers yearn for simpler times - and do it up right

When the Derailers decide to yearn for simpler times, on the other hand, at least they do it up right. No strangers to the past (with their flat tops, Western suits, and Buck Owens harmonies), the boys have finally recorded songs that might be adopted as anthems for folks who prefer Fox News to those communists at radical rags like The New York Times. Their new disc Genuine (and they would like to remind you - that's pronounced "Gin-you-whine") has two such ditties: "Uncool" yearns for the days that rebels needed no cause and coffee came in only one flavor, and is scared of a world where "CEOs ride Harleys and wholesome mothers

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have tattoos;" "Whole Other World" is a pretty, reflective number about feeling trapped "here in the city, too much fussin' and fightin'/wish I was back home where the fish are bitin'." Watch for the latter to play CMT every two hours from now until the cows come home.

But being nostalgic doesn't make you part of the right wing, and any band who dedicates an album to the recently departed George Harrison must be at least a little liberal. Same goes for songwriters so steeped in Doug Sahm that they would produce "Leave a Message, Juanita," Genuine's third track. And even if the production style has become a little glossier, the boys are always more interested in goofing around than selling their souls to Nashville; "I Love Me Some Elvis" is as silly as it gets, a deadpan fantasy about following in the Bloated One's sequined footsteps.

Although the group appears to change lineups with every album, core members Tony Villanueva and Brian Hofeldt maintain a rock-solid musical identity, channeling the Buckaroos and Beatles with their own distinctive style. Speaking of style, though: Brian's looking awfully mop-topped in the photos on the record jacket - Tony better take him in for a trim before the guys hit the VFW. •

More by John DeFore



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