Some people will tell you that there is nothing you can do in the music business to make yourself unique. But you know something? Those people are wrong. Try this. Go to ReverbNation and enter the genre truck drivin’ music. You know how many bands come up in the results? Just one: Chris “Sugarballs” Sprague and His 18 Wheelers (from Van Nuys).
It doesn’t take long to get the introduction to truck drivin’ music on Miles Away. The first song is “Driving along on 18 Wheels.” that song is followed by “Looking at the World through a Windshield.” And the sound is just what you would expect from something classified as truck drivin’ music. It is twangy old-style country that would get people dancing in any honky tonk bar.
The title track (one song on the album that is only indirectly about truckin’) reminds me a lot of Dwight Yoakam. This is a Bakersfield-influenced song with the classic theme of a guy who has hard time settling down because he gets the itch to move. This song will probably get you two-stepping in your living room. Another influence comes through in “The Devil Went Down to the Truck Stop.” In this re-imagining of the classic Charlie Daniels Band song, the devil challenges Johnny to a truck driving contest. (And for the record, I personally like the country funk that accompanies the devil’s driving to the music that accompanies Johnny’s.)
One of the surprising things about this album is “Six Days on the Road.” Maybe it’s not that surprising. After all, it is a country song about trucking. However, it’s surprising to me because I am most familiar with Taj Mahal’s version of the song.
This is a very solid album of (what else?) 18 songs that will make you want to scoot your boots. It is fun, uptempo, old-time country music and it is immediately one of my favorite albums of the year. If you like real honky tonk country music (as opposed to Nashville pop), this is an album you need to add your collection.