Your Horse Has Bolted - Saloon Daddies (Stanley Records)
Their members (both of them) have been on more stages than a ticket collector for Cobb & Co, but playing together as Saloon Daddies is a relatively new experience. So what else does a new-ish Sydney alt.country duo do but jump into a studio to reel off an EP before it all becomes too slick or predictable.
You read right - “Your Horse Has Bolted” is alt.country. What’s it doing in the I-94 Bar? As a sage man once observed: “You can’t live on Detroit rock alone.” It's had quite a few spins in recent weeks and right now it's wedged between a selection of Blue Oyster Cult and the Sonics. Odd bed fellows, for sure, but what’s more, it’s pretty good.
Saloon Daddies are Dave Favours (The Delivery, The Forresters) and Jeff Pope (Deadwood 76, Dunhill Blues) and these five songs are more or less off-the-cuff and delivered live-in-the-studio. The record has a relaxed but not sloppy feel to it, devoid of the cliches that dog the commercial country music that clog radio airwaves.
There’s more undistorted cow-punk than cheesy cowpoke at work here. It's acoutic guitars, a little banjo and mandolin, a smidgin of percussion and some harp. Pope and Favours have contrasting yet complementary vocal styles and this EP could find a ready audience among the, ahem, older rockers who are tired of testing their tinnitus or want to linger in the pub’s front bar.
“A Town That Never Was” and “To The Last Dead Cowboy” are nice book-ends that end and open the record. “The Girl Behind The Bar At The Penshurst Hotel” just skirts around the predictability that comes with stories of ageing barmaids with hearts of gold. Score it up a notch for being set in one of my local pubs. Just to underline where the duo’s members are coming from there’s a fulsome cover of Saint Chris of Bailey’s “Grain of Sand”. I guess Saloon Daddies beat The Boss to it.