The Hobo Nephews Of Uncle Frank review…June 3, 2015…

THE HOBO NEPHEWS OF UNCLE FRANK

AMERICAN SHUFFLE

CHAPERONE RECORDS  CR 020/CIC 026

EVERYBODY’S GOT A BABY BUT ME–DOWN THE LINE–OVER AND BACK AGAIN–LOW FLYING BIRD–WHEN THE NIGHT COMES–TAKE THIS TOWN–OLD NUMBER FOUR–DOWN SO LOW–THE DAY BILLY MARTIN QUITS–ME, YOU, AND THE UNIVERSE–THERE’S THE TRAIN, HERE’S YOUR TICKET

The Hobo Nephews Of Uncle Frank–now THERE’S a band name–consist of brothers Teague and Ian Alexy who call Minnesota home.  The Americana duo grew up in Atlantic City, but they have toured long and strong over the last decade, and their songs–insightful looks at our heroes, hopes, loves, and dreams–are the backbone of their sound.  Their latest album is “American Shuffle,” and they derive their inspiration from the likes of Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, and even Jack Kerouac.

Ian and Teague share vocal duties and writing credits, as well as guitar duties.  Ian is on bass, and Teague blows a fine harp.  Many of the cuts have an earthy, bluesy feel, too.  Check out the leadoff cut, where even crude, cynical, ugly guys have women throwing themselves at their feet, but the fellows bemoan the fact that “Everybody’s Got A Baby But Me.”  Teague’s harp and banjo from Dave Carroll give this one a sweet, laid-back groove.  Two lovers who reunite long after their youth has passed find that they have a love that never ends, but goes “Over And Over And Back Again,” with fine pedal steel from Bill Quinn.  “Take This Town” has a Bonnie-and-Clyde-ish storyline, while “Down So Low,” perhaps the set’s most blues-oriented cut, is driven by Teague’s harp and a rolling slide guitar riff from Ian.

Our two favorites were easy.  An “unofficial” tribute to Brett Favre is the tale of “Old Number Four,” who may have been “battered, beaten, and bruised to the core,” but never lost his spirit for the game.  And, on the other side of the coin is a humorous look at one of the most colorful, tempestuous baseball men of our generation, and “the day Billy Martin becomes a good loser is The Day Billy Martin Quits.”

“American Shuffle” is a fine reminder of what the Hobo Nephews Of Uncle Frank are all about.  Their songs lead the way, with poignant, colorful looks at life, and their musicianship is superb!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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