One of my least favorite things in this world is that pop rock crap that most Americans listen to being called "country music". It's not and in my book it never will be, especially with groups like California's The Tarweed Two floating around playing country music the way it was meant to be played.
I don't know what the hell is in the water in central California but a quick scan of websites like Bandcamp will tell you that places like San Luis Obispo (and the county of the same name) are still chock full of great, authentic country acts. It really shouldn't be that shocking that this part of the world is still carrying the traditional country torch as it wasn't that long ago that the likes of Merle Haggard and Buck Owens were filling the radio airwaves with the "Bakersfield sound". What impressed me though was how damn good some of these acts really are. Case in point: The Tarweed Two.
Earlier this year The Tarweed Two released a self-titled, four-song EP (only 100 were pressed on 7" vinyl, but still readily available for digital download on their Bandcamp page). I can not even begin to express my excitement over these four songs. The band is fronted by the male/female vocal duo of Hayley Thomas (who also plays banjo) and Reid Cain (who also plays guitar). Cain, comes to this outfit after multiple albums fronting Red Eye Junction, another San Luis Obispo traditional country gem. Thomas and Cain are one of the best sounding country duos I've heard in a long time and it's absolutely not a stretch to compare the way they write songs and play off each other to the likes of Johnny Cash & June Carter or Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn. It's that good. Where Cain's other band is a rollicking homage to the busted bottle, sawdust-floored, whiskey drinking good ol' days of country yore, The Tarweed Two are the alter ego focusing mostly on broken, unmendable love. These are sad, tear-jerker country songs that no major label act these days could even possibly know how to write. My hope is that this act rises up out of relative obscurity, get on the bus and tour and continue to make awesome music. They're off to a great start.