Derailers: Under the Influence of Buck

The Derailers
Under the Influence of Buck
Palo Duro

The Derailers' Under the Influence of Buck catches the credulous but canny tone of Buck Owens's classic '60s recordings, and reveals Owens as a master of the country-music success narrative. The Austin quintet play it straight, so that every laconic vocal and guitar obbligato contributes to music that marks time while toying with it. A tribute to the collaboration between Owens and Telecaster innovator Don Rich, whose licks Brian Hofeldt reproduces here, Under the Influence makes a case for a conceptualist whose trademark was a red, white, and blue guitar, and whose songs suggest steely resolve tempered by immense good humor.

On "Sam's Place," a 1967 hit for Owens and his Buckaroos, the Derailers interpret a song that plays like just another goof, a novelty featuring "shimmy-shakin' Tina" from Pasadena. But "Sam's Place" is about a guy who sounds like he owns the place—go there yourself and you might glimpse him taking a quick turn around the tables, just to make sure everyone has cigarettes and change for the jukebox. "I've Got a Tiger by the Tail" sports a narrator who is hemorrhaging money, courtesy of a scheming woman, but its tone is oddly detached. What concerns Owens most in "Tiger" is the damage done to his hard-earned sense of order. The Derailers sound at home with Owens's hybrid rock 'n' roll, and the brilliant "Who's Gonna Mow Your Grass" lays fuzz-tone guitar over a psychedelic waltz about how divorce gets you out of having to do yard work.

THE DERAILERS perform on AUGUST 29 and 30 at the MINNESOTA STATE FAIR Heritage Square Stage; 651.288.4427

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