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The Daily Page: Music: CD Reviews: The Junkers
The Junkers
Hunker Down
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Stompers, weepers, crapulous tales of the barroom told through the headache-haze of the morning, it�s not the collected works of Merle Haggard, but it might as well be. From the first twang to the last, Madison insurgents the Junkers work the honky-tonkin� ethos for all it�s worth, and damn if they don�t do a dern good job conjuring the spirit of Bakersfield circa 1965.

To be absolutely truthful, we�re not talking working-class heroes here, or even hard-bitten reporters on the pimply, beer-drenched underbelly of the American dream. But the Junkers do have a knack for shambling and rambling toward the sunset, and Hunker Down�s breakout hit, the two-step-ready "It�s Hard to Win a Woman (When You�re Working for the Man)," is delivered with so much fervor � and chicken-scratch guitar � that only the most supercilious alt-country theorist could resist its charms. The mocking George Jones analog "Can�t Stop the Bleeding" oozes with good humor as well, and like most of the Junkers� mid-tempo material, it throbs with enough simulated pathos to get over with a general country audience.

If there�s a tear in your beer, the Junkers can definitely help ease the pain.

Reviewed by Tom Laskin