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Playing Great, Basic Rock ‘N’ Roll, Slobberbone Doesn’t Use Hyphens

In an era of over-hyphenated band descriptions (i.e. pop-punk, power-pop, metal-funk-hip-hop), Slobberbone wants to be described as just one thing: a rock and roll band.

Just mention that most people want to shove this Denton, Texas, group into the “alternative-country” category and expect a sigh of worn-down resignation from singer/ guitarist Brent Best.

“There are a lot of bands that fall into that category - bands that I really love,” he says. “But I think if that’s your emphasis when you talk about them, then you’re missing the point. The fact is, a band like Uncle Tupelo is just a great rock band. They attacked it and they moved me like a great rock band should.”

If forced to use hyphens to describe the Slobberbone sound it would go something like this: rocking-Southern-alternative-with-a-country-punk-twist.

Or maybe just this: damn good.

It’s true. These guys have a knack for rambunctious rock and roll. But like alt-country favorites Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt and Wilco, Slobberbone also dabbles in the rootsy elements - a fiddle here, a harmonica there.

Slobberbone - on Doolittle Records - are doing at an independent level what Whiskeytown and the Old ‘97s are doing with their major label debuts. Theirs is the place where the twang of bluegrass runs headlong into the flying fist of punk - all topped off with Best’s whisky-tarnished vocals and brooding storytelling.

Slobberbone began with Best and a friend in 1991. The current lineup finds Jess Barr on guitar, Brian Lane on bass and Tony Harper on drums. For those wondering about the oft-commented-upon name, it refers to a dog toy that’s been chewed up and - of course - slobbered on.

Best remembers the time in his childhood when music first struck his fancy in the form of R.E.M., Soul Asylum and Husker Du. “Everybody wanted to be Eddie Van Halen and I just wanted to write songs.”

Today it’s his strength.

In addition to being adept players, Slobberbone excels at creating vivid character sketches and gritty short stories. The band’s sophomore album “Barrel Chested” thrashes its way through tales of drinking, murder and faltering love with - at times - spine-tingling effect.

Follow in the footsteps of their first album, “Crow Pot Pie,” Slobberbone’s songs are often tinged with the down-and-out.

On “Get Gone Again” Best sings, “I’m so sick of writin’ songs about screwin’ up/no matter how much I fall down, seems it’s never enough.”

But with “Barrel Chested,” their songs have swung open the door to the possibility of better times ahead.

“I think the first album was probably a bit more about reveling in just being a screw-up and enjoying it,” Best says. “But at some point you have to kind of step back and realize it’s time to move on. There’s definitely a redemption factor - striving for it, if not achieving it.”

Slobberbone plays at Outback Jack’s Tuesday. Show starts at 9:30 p.m. Cover is $3. The Carcinogens open.

What else

Those crazy Canadian Celtic rockers The Clumsy Lovers headline at Outback Jack’s tonight. Method and Gil open. Cover is $4 and the dancing starts at 9:30 p.m.

And how about some traditional Irish music from Montana band Shaughnessy Hill. They’ll perform at the Arizona Steak House (333 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.) from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. Cover is $3.

Spokane favorite BeeCraft headlines at Ichabod’s North Saturday. Show starts at 9:30. Cover is $5.

The Fort Spokane Brewery features bluesman Sammy Eubanks both tonight and Saturday. Music starts at 9:30 p.m. Cover is $4.

For a taste of airy acoustic guitar and folk rock, check out San Diego duo known as Dandelion Wine at Spokane Community College Tuesday morning. They perform in the Lair Auditorium starting at 11:30 a.m.

All ages

Thanks to the all-ages show promoters who’ve been sending in information about your events. Please keep it coming.

This weekend:

At the Central United Methodist Church Saturday catch California techno group Joy Electric. Wenatchee ska band Gimer Stick and Idaho’s Champion Birdwatchers also perform. Cover is $5 and the show starts at 7 p.m. The church is located at 518 W. Third.

At the Davenport Memorial Hall in Davenport, Wash., catch rock bands Unit, 12:34 and The Seducers when they play Saturday. Show starts at 9 p.m. Cover is $3.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

MEMO: Send nightclub news to Winda Benedetti at The Spokesman-Review, 999 W. Riverside, Spokane, WA 99201 or fax it to (509) 459-5098. She can be reached by phone at (509) 459-5089 or by e-mail at Deadline for Friday publication is the previous Friday.

Send nightclub news to Winda Benedetti at The Spokesman-Review, 999 W. Riverside, Spokane, WA 99201 or fax it to (509) 459-5098. She can be reached by phone at (509) 459-5089 or by e-mail at Deadline for Friday publication is the previous Friday.