Bang Bang

Dark and Bloody Ground (Independent)
The Shooting Gallery

By Kory Wilcoxson

The Shooting Gallery would be the perfect opening band in the "Rawhide" scene of "The Blues Brothers." As the rip through their Cow Punk style of their debut album, Dark and Bloody Ground, you can almost smell the cigarette smoke and see the chicken wire.

These local boys are not easily categorized, but fit most comfortably in Alt Country. They follow the trail of Johnny Cash's storytelling on songs like "Hell to Pay" and "Defrost," and the wonderful "Tiny Incisions" has the flow and twang of vintage George Jones.

The music is appropriately distorted and loose and singer John Ashley's voice has that whiskey-marinated quality that adds to the atmosphere. At times you may wish Ashley was a little closer to the right notes, but after a few listens through the CD you won't notice or won't care.

A few songs on "Dark and Bloody Ground" stray in other directions, like the driving instrumental "Ohio River Sludge" or the frantic blues of "Northbound Train." But the Shooting Gallery most hit the mark when dealing songs of rebels, loners and scorned love and they are usually right on target.