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Danny Barnes & Thee Old Codgers
THINGS I DONE WRONG
(TERMINUS)

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Packed with stories of mayhem and personal disaster, this disc from former Bad Livers frontman Danny Barnesís new outfit is a trek through the musical legacy of the Southern mountains and the mythology of trailer-trash America. At times Thee Old Codgersí blend of bluegrass and punk-rock attitude is sweet. "Hey Baby Iím Falling" is an outright love song, with Barnesís prettiest high-and-lonesome vocal melody. But gunshots, Satan, and solitude are more this trioís stock in trade. And madness is present not only in the lyrics but also in Barnesís delivery, in tics like the zigzagging vocal phrasing of "Delilah." Whatís hip is that banjoist/singer Barnes and his Codgers (Jon Parry on violin and Keith Lowe on bass) have the authentic chops to play a bluegrass festival, even if theyíd rather hang with the bohemians. Another bonus is the sophisticated harmonic interplay of the arrangements, especially those among Parry, Lowe, and guest guitarist Bill Frisell on two numbers. But thatís a trademark of Wayne Horvitz, the fugitive from the late-í80/early-í90s downtown Manhattan music scene who produced the album. A recent set at Johnny Dís found the band playing things closer to their straight bluegrass roots: they were tamer than the rip-roaring Bad Livers but no less engaging.

BY TED DROZDOWSKI

Issue Date: April 25 - May 2, 2002
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