By Lord Randall

Coming from a couple of PR folks mostly known for foisting gnarly, old school death metal more at home in the Swedish/Floridian backwoods of ’89-’91 (yes, “Swedish/Floridian” – space/time continuum, natch) into the grubby paws of would-be journalists as myself, I wasn’t expecting much when it came to Vermont’s WAYLON SPEED. Descriptors such as “hardrocking country” and “roots rock and roll” frightened the fuck out of me, because, how legit could a band from Vermont be when it came to any sort of country, much less that of the roots variety?

Well, in between bites of combat boot and crow (my foot finally pulled free of my mouth), I have to admit I enjoy "Valance"…mostly. Opener ‘Beef Jerky And Beer’ is standard honky tonk fare, but ‘Livin’’ reeks of Muscle Shoals music ala DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS, and therefore succeeds. Not sure if the Speedsters have ever crossed the Mason Dixon line, but their sound certainly has. ‘Then Again’ doesn’t do much for me, and it seems when the fursome foursome sets their lawn chairs to rockin’, it works better for them (‘I Heard The Shot’) than when they try to country up their admittedly quality Southern-tinged rock (‘Silver And Gold’). Finale ‘Train Out Of Town’ fires on all cylinders, bringing the best of both worlds together in a bowl of butter & grits that’s both tasty and reminiscent of JAYHAWKS and MOLLY HATCHET. Overall, good times.