Disregard the Law of Averages and do yourself a Favours
Not Your Average Country Band - Dave Favours and The Roadside Ashes (Stanley Records)
It doesn’t take many dots to join the lines between rock and roll and its forebears, country music and blues. Sydney’s Dave Favours and his band The Roadside Ashes do It better than many.
“Too rocking for country purists and too country for the rock crowd” is a familiar descriptor and it’s one that Dave Favours grips in a bear hug without any concession to social distancing. Hie says his music owes as much to Hank Williams as The Clash and that’s one reason you rockists (guilty as charged) may want to give it more than a cursory listen.
Favours has a gruff, slightly flat but endearing vocal, and also plays acoustic guitar and harmonica. Lead guitarist Aaron Langman adds the sweetly keening Nashville sounds where they’re needed and the rest - that’d be Dave Hart on electric and upright bass and John Jensen and Simon Li on drums - lock in sympathetically.
Michael Carpenter’s production is gritty yet transparent and the songs (most of them by Favours) are strong and diverse.
The up-beat “Where Are You Now?” sits comfortably with a stylised maverick lament like “Part Time” . The Roadside Ashes tackle that Beasts of Bourbon nugget, “I’ve Let You Down Again”, with a droll vibe befitting the original.
The convincing harmonies that carry “The Truth Got In the Way” contrast nicely against the more sparse sounds of the downbeat “Out of Time” and “Vanessa’s Song”. “Don’t Talk To Me” goes full Nashville and isn't too shabby a song, at all.
Big props also to “Where Are You Now”, while “The Girl in the Upstairs Apartment” and its fast and furious bass-line dips its lid to punkabilly and The Johnnys in equal measures.
There’s a fine line between parody and earnestness and Favours navigates it successfully. No horses were harmed in the making of this record. None of the protagonist even has a four-wheel drive.