6 String Drag’s new release Top of the World (Schoolkids Records/Conqueroo) follows closely on the heels of the remastered rerelease in January 2018 of their 1997 High Hat. High Hat was originally produced by Steve Earle on his E-Squared label to much acclaim, in what you might say was the nascent euphoric early days of Americana music. The remastered version captured every bit of the exciting live energy of the times.
Top of the World was produced in the Fidelitorium studio in North Carolina by Jason Merritt (Tift Merritt, Bloodshot Records’ 20 Year tribute). Front man Kenny Roby reports the 3 goals of the recording session were to capture performance, attitude, and motion. We’d say they achieved these goals and then some. In distinction from High Hat’s live feel, Top of the World offers a more grounded sound.
The songs are loaded with attitude, and the roots rock motion is supported by rhythm section: bass player Rob Keller and Dan Davis; with multiinstrumentalist Luis Rodriguez to lend flair to the mix. Guest appearances by John Ginty (Robert Randolph, Whiskeytown, Dixie Chicks) on Hammond B3 and Matt Douglas (Mountain Goats, Hiss Golden Messenger) on horns lend some real flavor. Kenny Roby’s vocals somehow manage to consistently strike a universal chord of familiarity. “Small Town Punks” is one of those easy punk songs that gets you up on your feet to dance off the day’s worries. “Be Like You” is a swingier song with its mid tempo beat. “Never Turn My Back on You Again” again is a bit of an ironic tale set to rock rhythms. “Every Time She Walks By” combines punk sensibility with the kind of catchy hand claps and funky bridge that renders it a real standout.
A great Americana accomplishment for this band named after the Stanley Brothers’ bluegrass instrumental “5 String Drag.” Get your cd or vinyl copy, here!