Album Reviews

Bottle Rockets

South Broadway Athletic Club

Artist:     Bottle Rockets

Album:     South Broadway Athletic Club

Label:     Bloodshot Records

Release Date:     10/02/2015

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Everybody knows someone like this: the grizzled old rocker, working construction or in a machine shop, who has a dog and a pickup truck and plays guitar in his band on Saturday nights, where they drink beer and close every night by playing “Free Bird” for 25 minutes, at least.

The Bottle Rockets are a cut above that, maybe several cuts. They have been cranking out the type of down-home country rock that’s on South Broadway Athletic Club for over 20 years. Starting as alt-country with contemporaries like Uncle Tupelo, they have cultivated a sound that’s honest, true and unburdened by high-minded ideals. This is music for the common man, about common people and common concerns. “Monday (Everytime I Turn Around)” is at once simple and philosophical, “Building Chryslers” describes a factory man who just wants to live his life, and “Something Good” is a tale of love gone bad. “Dog” is charming in its simplicity, being purely about how much the singer loves his dog – that’s it. There isn’t even any flowery language to muck up the message. The chorus of “Sometimes life is really just this simple” sums up South Broadway Athletic Club, and The Bottle Rockets’ entire oeuvre, perfectly.

Even Brian Henneman’s voice, which has a healthy dose of twang, speaks of an entirely ordinary rock star: his drug of choice is beer, his groupies are his kids and the poshest hotel he’s stayed in is his very own home. Even the name The Bottle Rockets suggests reckless teenagers with nothing to do. South Broadway Athletic Club will hit home for adults who look back at being those kids and think, “Those were the days…”

– N. Neal Paradise

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