Hammer of the Honky-Tonk Gods
“Born at the junction of form and function, it’s the hammer of the honky-tonk gods.” So says Telecaster master and “King of Dieselbilly” Bill Kirchen of his mighty Fender axe. His dazzling virtuosity, from 1972’s “Hot Rod Lincoln” (as Commander Cody’s guitarist) through seven solo albums, has lent a booming crunch ’n’ twang to the Americana genre. As with many of the most talented, Kirchen comes with a full arsenal of abilities, and this time he shines as both a song stylist (along with bassist/background vocalist Nick Lowe) and also a lyricist. “One More Day” is cosmic Will Rogers. The Knopfleresque “Rocks Into Sand” is lovely, plaintive. But a Blackie Farrell barroom weeper and Arthur Alexander’s sublime “If It’s Really Got to Be This Way” make this a Grammy contender.