Album, Single and EP Reviews



  Stockton Boulevard by Stars & Garters

Stockton Boulevard cover art

Artist: Stars & Garters
Title: Stockton Boulevard
Catalogue Number: Hobo Camp 01081007
Review Format: CD
Release Year: 2007

Hmm… this album starts with "Another Song about Whiskey". It is almost like this band knows we like a drink or two here at Bluesbunny Towers and are trying to get our interest from the start. Based out of Sacramento, Stars & Garters' music harks back to a time of proper hard livin' country music. Ah bartender, pour us another one and let's get to it.

Starting tenderly, "Me and My Broken Heart" is an honest, upstanding citizen of a song. It has a story and you just know that, in best country style, there won't be a happy ending with Joe Carlson's pedal steel echoing the torment around the room. Well that put us right in the mood for some honky tonking and that is what we got with "Finish the Bottle". Drinking and heartbreak all fit in to 3 minutes. No problem with that at all. Even though you could say that country music reinforces traditional family values (well, sort of anyway), domestic bliss just is not that common these days as "Livin' with You" illustrates. Of course, you might meet the doctor referred to in "Honky Tonk Cure" who recommends Haggard and Hank as the cure to all a man's ills. A cover version on an album is not unusual these days but a country band doing Slade's "Cum on Feel the Noize"? It might be an unexpected choice but it does actually work. That could just be the element of surprise though. "24 Bottles" takes us out of the album in the best drinking song style. Half song, half drunken chant, this one had us singing along. Actually it was more like slurring along but you get the idea.

Most of the songs on this album manage to squeeze alcohol and heartbreak into the lyrics. Relationships don't work and there is not enough drink in the entire world to drown the pain but at least we have a soundtrack to it all. Stars & Garters might not be breaking any new ground here but they do what they do well. Available from CD Baby.
Review Date: December 19 2007