The Knitters, Dead Rock West

While some musicians' side projects are one-off wanderings, others just take a little time to come around again. That would be the case with the Knitters, the country/Americana offshoot group with John Doe, Exene Cervenka and D.J. Bonebrake, all of punk legends X, and ex-Blasters guitarist Dave Alvin. The band's sophomore effort, 2005's The Modern Sounds of the Knitters, comes only two decades after their debut, and includes countrified versions of X songs ("Burning House of Love," "Skin Deep Town"), genre standards ("Rank Stranger") and new originals ("The New Call of the Wreckin' Ball"). Doe and Cervenka warble together in the style of the Carter Family, though at times her over-the-top affected twang can be a bit shticky. Opening is roots-rock/country act Dead Rock West, touring on debut Honey and Salt. Led by singer/guitarist Frank Lee Drennen and singer Cindy Wasserman, they're more than a match for the headliners, with style and substance on songs such as the achingly beautiful "Boredom How Did I Get Here" and the more up-tempo "Highway One." Overall, a fine cowpunk double bill.


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