Billy Wallace and the Virginia Blues is an indie folk band with punk influences and associations. Tucumcari, New Mexico and Other Songs is a collection of raw songs from the road. The honest storytelling style is beautiful in its simplicity and took me immediately.
Throughout the album there is a great paring of raspy male vocals and lilting female vocals, that unexpectedly go together magically. Horns and harmonicas, appear throughout the record giving unexpected moments of personality.
The hands down, best track is, Smoke and Glow a fast catchy track that connects with the audience immediately. Not only is the music catchy without being poppy, the lyrics are fucking amazing. Close seconds for favorites track are Tucumcari, NM, a love song andNoel’s Blues, an acoustic track that bubbles from the gut.
Speaking of amazing lyrics, captured me most about this album is the poetry in these songs. These are love songs of different varieties, but they are written with a road poet’s sensibility. Quick highlight of my favorites: From Tucumcari, NM, “I can break that fucking lease / because I don’t need California / the way I need you next to me.” Smoke and Glow, the whole damned song is great, but some of the best “We’re lost in the smoke and the glow of the barroom / filled with people thinking they’re in love “ and “When you’re singing your songs about Jesus / And all it does, baby, is make me wanna sin with you.” Henry Flowers Homesick Blues, “I ain’t much in the mood for reunions / because, baby, we’re not the same folks we’ve been / I will not waste the time to resurrect gods I’ve crucified / just to spit in their face with my sins .”
I am not sure that I love this album as much as a punk rock kid, as I love it as a poet.