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Setting the Woods On Fire

"Despite taking its title from a Hank Williams song, Setting the Woods on Fire ranks among the Walkabouts' most rock-based efforts. A sweeping, stately record, it owes a great deal to the Stones' Exile on Main St., particularly on the boogie shuffle "Old Crow" and the horn-powered, R&B-flavored "Hole in the Mountain.""

- Jason Ankeny, AllMusic Guide

"Setting the Woods on Fire shares a title with a Hank Williams song, but despite the obvious connection it’s hard to say the album was named after the song. After all, that’s one of Hank’s fast ones (and he said he only wrote two songs: a fast one and a slow one) about having a wild party. There, Setting the Woods on Fire is a metaphor. Here, it is a literal truth. This is a collection of hard-hitting more-rock-than-country tunes, some literally about setting fire to the past to try and overcome it.

Sonically, the music is not all that different from New West Motel. There’s more piano than organ here, and it’s brought further forward in the mix. The tone is superficially similar to New West Motel, but the words are more desperate (which ain’t easy to do, since that album was filled with murderin’ stones and men getting shot in their motels). 

Confronting danger and making new amends isn’t possible for the protagonists of all these sad songs. “Up In the Graveyard” typifies the tone. It’s a slow ballad about a man trying to dig up his dad, because he didn’t want to be buried next to the mill where he wasted his life. It doesn’t work out.

What sets the Walkabouts apart from other alt-country-rock types is that their work never seems specifically mine the past, yet it sits comfortably within the idiom. They haven’t reinvented a southern gothic world like 16 Horsepower did, where the banjo and bandoneon are as rock & roll as the electric guitar. The Walkabouts’ work is a next step, and even when they put on the pedal steel for an out and out country tune, the words never fall into the safety net of clever Nashville pablum. They keep their edge, and their smarts."
- Kent Conrad, Exploded Goat

Available at the Drums & Wires BandCamp store for streaming and digital download in MP3, FLAC, ALAC (Apple Lossless), AAC, Ogg Vorbis, WAV and AIFF formats.

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