Rebellious countrified rocker Eddie Spaghetti, of Supersuckers fame, has turned in a great performance with Old No. 2, his hybrid album of classic covers and brand new originals.
From the opening chords of Bob Dylan's "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You", it's clear that the point of this record was for Spaghetti to pay homage to his influences, while having a lot of fun with some good time music. Spaghetti's treatment of the aforementioned Dylan song employs the use of a lazy pedal steel which allows the song to exist in a mellow yet upbeat country groove. With "All Along" we are treated to the first of the four Spaghetti originals that make up the rest of the disc. The songs, while fun and immensely listenable, crumble slightly when put up against songwriters such as Dylan, Tom Waits and Willie Nelson, however they still allow for Spaghetti's primary purpose of entertaining the audience to shine through.
"Some People Say", the next Spaghetti original is a nice acoustic ditty that shows Spaghetti's ability to be versatile whilst staying true to his roots at the same time.
Nick Lowe's "Without Love" then brings the album back to a decidedly country place by bringing the tempo back up and making the mood light, even with the refrain of "I am dying without love." The main highlight of the disc comes from AC/DC's "Carry Me Home" which allows for Spaghetti's inner barroom rocker to come out. The song's crunchy guitars and Spaghetti's throaty growl make the song all the raunchier. The lyrics also sum up the album perfectly in that they are fun, drunk and kinda sleazy. For example - "You drank all your booze and half of mine/I'm bleary eyed and you're waiting for the sunshine/(to come and kill me)/Just like the man who threw me on the floor/Don't matter/while I'm down here I might as well try and find the bathroom door."
The second half of the disc holds another two consecutive Spaghetti originals in "I Don't Wanna Know" and "Here We Go" which are again a lot of fun, but seem to be slightly lacking in the punch Spaghetti delivers with the songs that he covers. This then brings me to the Tom Waits written, Ramones popularized "I Don't Wanna Grow Up", which is another of the highlights of the disc. The song is energetic and full of the passionate indolence that Spaghetti can exhibit so well in certain parts of the album.
Willie Nelson's "Everywhere I Go" is also another highlight of this album as it shows a softer side of Spaghetti which complements the rest of the album incredibly well.
Overall, this album is definitely worth a listen as it is incredibly enjoyable while making use of some great tunes from generations past. Spaghetti's originals, although good songs in their own right, could easily have been left of the disc in favour of some more classic country covers. On the other hand, the inclusion of the originals allows for Spaghetti to show the correlation between his influences and his own music. All in all, the album isn't perfect by any means, but it is fun, good-time music from the most entertaining man in country music today.