IDOW:: New Country Rehab

There are only two types of people that would include Springsteen and Hank Williams Sr. classics on their debut, self-produced, self-released record. The first, obviously, would be a manufactured indie rock band hoping to get some sort of blog love with “shit hot covers.” The second, and obviously where Toronto’s New Country Rehab fits into the discussion, is a band with the cojones and the talent to transform songs and make them their own without bastardizing the originals.


Long time scene veterans, this outfit has an abundance of talent and a solid foundation of traditional country sounds and emotions, but clearly isn’t willing to settle for a collection of tracks that could have been found on slabs of acetate in bins at the Sally Anne. The dark, pseudo dub sound they use to own Hank Sr. “Ramblin’ Man” is remarkable, but more importantly, doesn’t shine brighter than spirited originals like “Angel of Death” or “Cameo.” Every song shows musical interplay and interpretation that should’ve taken years, not a few gigs, to develop. The fiddle, guitar and double bass pass the conch back and forth, complete with respect, twists and delightfully shocking surprises and the results push the songs out of the pleasant but all too predictable rut into which seems to have settled.


Country hasn’t always been about broken hearts and pining over lost loves; the tracks that started the tradition focused on subject matter so grizzly, it was hard to stomach. Their take on “State Trooper” might not be as chilling as the original and wWhile NCR might not agree that “nothin’ feels better than blood on blood”, they certainly aren’t going to let country become the watered down, paint by numbers affair it seems to be headed. If you are a country purist, lyrics like “please bury me, but only if she’s buried beside me” will warm your soul. Equally beautiful and longing as they are slightly unsettling, the vocals are timeless but the sonic palette these boys create will make us rethink our expectations of country music. Oh, and I heard they are damn near transcendent live. I can’t think of a better act to open IDOW. Make sure you are sitting at down @ The Bus Stop Theatre on Wednesday, January 26th.

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MP3:: New Country Rehab - Angel of Death




This entry was posted on Thursday, January 13th, 2011 at 9:56 am and is filed under 2011, Canada, Halifax, IDOW, IDOW 2011, Music, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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One Response to “IDOW:: New Country Rehab”

NXNE 2011: New Country Rehab @ The Dakota « Sounds Like Work - Adam Brady June 26th, 2011 at 6:38 pm

[...] Herohill,  my favorite blog from Halifax, talk about the qualities it takes to include two classic songs as covers on your debut album. It is interesting that, on their debut record, NCR have included Hank Williams and Springsteen on it, but I think the versions of the songs speak for themselves. This band has vision, even if their names aren`t on the writing credits. [...]

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