Social Distortion "Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes" Review — 4 out of 5 Stars
Thu, 13 Jan 2011 10:03:22
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It doesn't matter where you are from or how you feel about punk rock, Americana, roots rock, country music or any bastardized hybrid of two or more or all of the above! Social Distortion always blur the line between punk rock, country -effectively "punk country"-- and roots rock and Americana and American rock to inescapably catchy results. Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes, the Mike Ness-fronted band's first album in over half-a-decade, is high octane, bluesy, feel-good, down home rock 'n' roll that could have been birthed in any dive or honky tonk in any city, any state, be it a fly over, Blue, Red, coastal or interior state. That's how Goddamn American this album is. It appeals to all facets of Americans with one stipulation: that you like to rawk!
"California (Hustle & Flow)" boasts a decidedly Black Crowes vibe, with its sexy, female backing vocals, while "Gimme the Sweet and Lowdown" caters more to the band's three-chord fury and youth. Ness's croaky vocals and lyrics are indicative of a life hard-lived, and he's still like the punk scene's answer to Johnny Cash, thanks to his whiskey-raw delivery. "Diamond in the Rough" fires from a mid-tempo cylinder, but Social D's edge is never, ever blunted. "Bakersfield" operates off a ballad-like battery and there's experience, wisdom, blood, guts, sweat and life coursing through the song's battered veins. That's pretty much how it goes for the whole of Had Times and Nursery Rhymes.
"Far Side of Nowhere" plays with a Tom Petty influence, another reason that Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes will appeal to a broad cross-section of fans with sleeves pinup girl tattoos and those with Neil Young bootleg collections.
It's bands like Social D and Lucero that demonstrate the seedy underbelly of American rock music. It's not easy to appeal to the youth and those with hard-earned experience, but Social D and Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes do their part to bridge the gap and cater to both audiences and generations. Go ahead, mix cowboy boots and Mohawks. Social Distortion do and you can, too.
Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes is out January 18th.
4 out of 5 stars