Fred's Country Fried Rock: Joe Buck Yourself, “Devil Is On His Way” (2008)

What was that I was saying about one-man bands often being corny? Yeah, here’s another one, but the rule doesn’t apply to Joe Buck, either.

Buck, not to be confused with the sportscaster, first came to the attention of the musical world as a guitarist for Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers. He was next found mauling the upright bass behind Hank III before going out on his own with Joe Buck Yourself.

His solo stuff, though, is quite a bit different from his work with those other acts. The music of Joe Buck Yourself marries a few things that you don’t think would ever get remotely close to each other – like the horror-punk of The Misfits and rockabilly. There’s not a lot of country left in most of his music, this song included, but the influence is always there around the edges.

“Devil Is on His Way” has a punkish guitar riff that retains just a little rockabilly twang, played over his pounding kick drum. Though there’s a little distortion effect on his profanity-laced vocals, there’s also a great soulfulness in his delivery that makes you feel the song in a way that most punks never achieve. Even during the times where there’s nothing, but the drum, there’s emotion. That’s a hard thing to accomplish with a single kick drum.

A live performance by Buck is pretty gnarly, too. He delivers about as much intensity as a guy sitting on a stool playing a hollow-body electric guitar and pounding a kick drum can. The performance is so intense at times that it’s almost scary. But then, when it’s over, he’s laughing along with the crowd and returning the appreciation they show him.

Granted, Joe Buck is not for the faint of heart or the easily offended. His favorite word is a compound word that starts with “mother,” and he uses it copiously – at least 15 or 20 times in this song alone. It’s not music for country traditionalists, but there are things in it that traditionalists could appreciate – if they can get past the Mohawk, profanity and distorted guitars, that is.

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Fred Phillips

Fred Phillips is a veteran entertainment writer with a love of hard rock and heavy metal. He has written music reviews, columns and feature stories for several newspapers, Web sites and a national wire service, while running a stand-alone site called Hall of the Mountain King in various places and incarnations since 1997. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.

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