Real Country, Like Your Dad Remembers

On The Break (Whitewall Records)
Greg Parker

By Kevin Gibson

Imagine if Scott Miller got drunk with Hank Williams (the elder one, not the Bocephus one), then called up Lyle Lovett to come over for a nightcap and some White Castles. That's a start on what to expect from the EP On the Break from Knoxville's Greg Parker.

Parker's style recalls what country was back in the 1950s; it's as far removed from commercialism and the pop-country of today as anything called a country album could be. Parker's heartbroken longing comes out in subtle tones, his wan voice giving us just enough emotion to let us know he's really feeling all the heartbreak he's singing about.

"Get in Line Caroline" kicks off the EP and uses gradually building twangy guitar strokes that one could almost consider purposely overdone. Nevertheless, the effect is brilliant. My favorite tune on the album is "Disaster Waiting to Happen," a s**t-kickin' romp about a heartbreaker of a girl whom he'll continue to follow no matter how badly she beats him down.

That three of the five songs contain female names (see also "Molly Dear" and "Kathleen") speaks volumes; this is an old-time crooner at work, a guy who still thinks music is more than just a way to make a buck. When sincerity meets a guitar, the result is usually something worth keeping. And when you've got songs that sound like a slow train chugging along with a title like "A Heart is a Terrible Thing to Break," you know you're getting something real.