Nada Mucho

Pushstart Wagon – More Young Country than Hard Country

Posted by June 7th, 2005 No Comments »

Pushstart Wagon
L.A. Was Our Alamo
By Aaron Burkhalter

Pushstart Wagon’s L.A. Was Our Alamo is a lackluster alt-country offering complete with glossy production, picture perfect musicianship, and crooning lead vocals by Steve Guiles, who sounds like he took singing lessons from the Goo Goo Dolls.

The lyrics travel through Guiles’ troubled, sensitive heart with weak images like, “I was sitting playing cards at Pink’s Café/ Jesus, James Dean and John asked to play,” and introspection that goes no deeper than “Love is such a hard way to go.”

Pushstart Wagon takes no risk of going full tilt into any hard country sound, sticking with a style your iTunes player would now call ‘alternative’ with just a tinge of twang. In fact “Country Star,” a failed attempt at irony akin to Paula Cole’s “Where Have All The Cowboy’s Gone,” expresses Guiles’ hesitance to go country, chorusing the irritatingly falsetto “yippi yi yayay.”

Pushstart Wagon
L.A. Was Our Alamo
By Aaron Burkhalter

Pushstart Wagon’s L.A. Was Our Alamo is a lackluster alt-country offering complete with glossy production, picture perfect musicianship, and crooning lead vocals by Steve Guiles, who sounds like he took singing lessons from the Goo Goo Dolls.

The lyrics travel through Guiles’ troubled, sensitive heart with weak images like, “I was sitting playing cards at Pink’s Café/ Jesus, James Dean and John asked to play,” and introspection that goes no deeper than “Love is such a hard way to go.”

Pushstart Wagon takes no risk of going full tilt into any hard country sound, sticking with a style your iTunes player would now call ‘alternative’ with just a tinge of twang. In fact “Country Star,” a failed attempt at irony akin to Paula Cole’s “Where Have All The Cowboy’s Gone,” expresses Guiles’ hesitance to go country, chorusing the irritatingly falsetto “yippi yi yayay.”

This trio is far from inept however. All three are skilled musicians – their weakness lies in trying too hard. The best country and blues performers can accomplish a lot with just a voice an acoustic guitar. Pushstart Wagon pile on fancy studio ornaments and end up with a lot less.

Simplicity may be the key to mastering the music of the urban cowboy; we could all learn a few things from the blunt minimalism of more rural lyrics. Country and blues demand a rougher edge and the smooth finish of modern alternative music needs some of the same grit to mix a little flavor into an increasingly weak genre. Unfortunately, the final results of L.A. Was Our Alamo> owe more to the polished sound of the radio friendly modern country that Guiles shuns than the greats who created the style.

My advice, Mr. Guiles? Grab yourself some Merle Haggard, some Robert Johnson, and any early Sun Records and embrace your best influences strongly and shamelessly, and I guarantee the results will shine. (4/10)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2017 Nada Mucho