Biography Having been together for just six months, The Racketeers released their critically acclaimed debut album 'By Hook Or By Crook' in spring 1997. Within a few months, the band had brought their fiery brand of roots infused rock 'n' roll all over Ireland, including a few memorable shows at the Budweiser Rhythm 'n' Roots Festival in Galway. The album was also well received overseas as it notched up radio plays in Holland and Hungary. Summer of that year the band took to the road for a seven-week thirty-five-date tour of Sweden, Finland and Holland. Indeed this set the tone for the following year as European tours (Holland, Denmark, etc.) intermingled with Irish dates. April '99 saw the release of a new album, 'Long Time Gone,' and a festive release, the 'Counterfeit Christmas' EP which resulted in a couple of TV appearances. Early in 2004 they released their long awaited third album, 'Exit Hellsville,' which was recorded by veteran Paul Thomas, best known for his work with Thin Lizzy and early U2.The album has been receiving radio play in Belgium, Holland,Canada, Spain and Ireland. 'Exit Hellsville' more than adequately showcases 12 new songs from the dexterous pen of founding member Eamonn Dowd. With Brian O'Toole (bass) and Chris Teusner (drums) the band presents a more countrified sound than on previous outings. Best described as Americana or Alternative Country/Rock 'n' Roll the new album has helped The Racketeers make many new friends. Hot Press gave the album a rave review............. 'A damn fine example of gravel-voiced country rock...these songs are full of unaffected, unrefined humanity, a kind of world-weary, warts 'n' all honesty that's getting rarer in music.... there is something raw and real about The Racketeers that's easy to love.' Favourable reviews from the U.K., Germany, Italy, Holland etc. Have helped establish The Racketeers as a genuine underground phenomenon, often playing 100 gigs a year! While influences like Johnny Cash and Steve Earle come to mind, a lyrical darkness permeates the bands' roots infused rock 'n' roll with Dowd's haggard vocal delivering his uniquely twisted tales. Reviews AMERICANA UK - ALBUM REVIEWS The Racketeers 'Exit Hellsville' (Spellbound 2004)Available: Now. Review by Michael Mee 8 out of 10 An album of magic moments. This album is one of the reasons why I love reviewing. I'd never heard of The Racketeers before Exit Hellsville dropped through the letterbox. However after a couple of listens it is, as they say in a certain magazine, receiving heavy rotation in the Mee household. The reason is very simple, there are moments on this album, quite a few actually, that capture perfectly the magic that can be conjured up by combining country and rock 'n' roll in just the right proportions. The Racketeers was formed in 1997 and consists of Eamonn Dowd, Brian O'Toole and Chris Teusner. The band released it's first CD by Hook Or By Crook the same year (the second Long Time Gone came out in '99). Exit Hellsville has been described as more 'countrified' than their previous releases. Although I haven't heard either of the two earlier albums, on this evidence it was a sound decision to change direction, hopefully it will also prove a profitable one. Exit Hellsville was produced by Paul Thomas who has also worked with Thin Lizzy and early (i.e. good) U2. I only mention that fact because neither of those two bands are brought to mind when listening to the The Racketeers . A band that does spring to mind is The Pogues, or more particulary Shane McGowan, Damage Done and Down Into Hell have the same naked honest aggression of McGowan at his belligerent best. However instead of mayhem The Racketeers employ melody, Exit Hellsville is positively bursting with it. Although acting as the exception that proves the rule Never Is A Long Time is a song that is barely under control from start to finish. But the real strength and joy of the album is that this is surely a band playing in the studio pretty much as they would live. There is also a real find in the guise of writer and singer Eamonn Dowd and, because studio technology has such a minimal effect on the album, the rough and ready rockabilly of Nowhere Fast, the untamed wildness of Feel It In My Bones and the tenderness of Slip Away and Don't Believe What They're Saying are all given full expression. Nothing on Exit Hellsville sounds staged or contrived. The lifeblood of the album is undoubtedly it's energy, even the 'ballad' Come On Little Baby drives along rather than just drifts and, like the majority of the rest of the album, it contains more hooks than a convention of pirates. Even from the comfort of your own armchair, Trouble Round The Bend, for one, is a toe-tapping crowd pleaser. And it won't take you long to figure out where the inspiration for the guitar riff came from. But you could spend a lifetime looking for influences. Far better to spend the time listening to country rock at it's very best. As the band put it so eloquently There's No Point In Worrying. I have only two requests of The Racketeers. That they continue down this countrified, rocky road because they are surely on the path to success and secondly, on no account should Eamonn Dowd be allowed to clear his throat. His throaty, raspy vocals roughen up the album's edges and give it some friction. (Americana U.K. August 2004) ___ Exit Hellsville A damn fine example of gravel-voiced country rock.....these songs are full of unaffected, unrefined humanity, a kind of world-weary, warts 'n' all honesty that's getting rarer in music....there is something raw and real about The Racketeers that's easy to love. John Walshe Hot Press, Ireland. Feb 2004 ____ Exit Hellsville A powerful and rootsy sound that brings fiddle, mandolin, lap steel and banjo up front and center next to the electric guitar, bass and drum foundation. This is roots rock as strong as a lot of the Stateside bands claiming a similar pedigree. Listen to 'Never Did, Never Will' with Bill Whelan's banjo adding a spikey texture to the mix or the harmonica led 'Come On Little Baby' to see what I mean. Steve Averill Lonesome Highway Vol 2 # 3 April 2004 _____ _____ Americana from Dublin. And it ain't Dublin in the state of Ohio, but Dublin, Ireland. There has always been a deep affection to country music by the Irish, but this is alternative country. Brian O'Toole on bass guitar and drummer Chris Teusner follow Eamonn Dowd's cracked vocals and dark lyrics on their way down into hell. Considering the trio is from Europe, they do it much better than their musical brethren on the other side of the Atlantic. Folkworld, Germany. October 2004 _____.