Pay the Fiddler
There was no time for rest after Brett Walker and his newly deputized Texas Dangers made their New Year's Eve debut in Fort Worth. Thrilling a packed house full of wound-up Wayne Hancock fans on a Friday night would be but the first order of business for 2011. Just hours later, Walker and guitarist Dan Hardick sought refuge for their weary, red-eyed souls in the domain of Nashville-based multi-instrumentalist/recordist Andy Gibson. The privilege of recording a full-length album with Andy, who also recorded Hank Williams III's "Straight to Hell" is "Something I don't have the words to describe," Walker says, also thanking Bob Wayne for the referral. The new CD, "Pay the Fiddler," comes out on April 2 in Fort Worth- on a shared bill with Bob Wayne and his Outlaw Carnies. U.S. tour dates will follow. The Texas Dangers prefer to use a traditional bluegrass instrumentation to hammer home Walker's tales of sorrow, death, urban sprawl, and farm cats. A lively and animated frontman, Parker County's own Brett Walker balances a delicate and dangerous affair with his two true loves: the hay patch and the stage. Dutifully, he answers the urgent call to tell his heartworn tales of desperation. California-born rambler Jim Case, a protégé of world-famous banjo picker Alan Munde, holds down the 5-string and executes the office of director while Texan-born Dan Hardick bangs out the rhythm on the acoustic guitar. The band draws from a pool of exceptional fiddlers from show to show. Walker and his deputies hope that those who attend shows will either run for their lives or get to hoppin' a Do Si Do. "I want people to be able to relate to the music after hearin' it and for some to realize I ain't doin' nothin' they couldn't be doin' if they wanted to!" Music fans are going to square dance in the street once they get their first dose of Brett Walker's farm-bred fury. Lord knows, a euphoric shot in the arm is just what true music fans need, with so much mainstream garbage coming out of Texas and Nashville and polluting our collective consciousness. If you want to pigeon-hole the band, probably the most accurate thing you can say is that they fit into the category of little known and lesser appreciated acts that will instantly humble the bands you hear on FM radio, and with crippling effect. Let Walker and his gang throw down on you just once, and suddenly, calling someone "country" actually means something outside of having a cowboy hat, $5,000 to bribe a radio promoter, and being born in Texas. If Brett Walker's cryptic, tragic songs about his "dyin' breed" don't say it, and if raisin' your own hay and punchin' yer own damn cows don't say it, then just what the hell does? So now that you saw the light and heard the word, the final message ought to be clear enough: If you have sinned against music, the law is coming to hunt you down.