Front cover: You've got a leggy heavenly being with an Elvira hairdo and a heart tattoo on her right hip, the kind of image that might adorn the mudflaps on a long-haul rig. Factor in the album title, Trailer Park Angel, and you're thinking diesel-drenched country and country-rock, at best, heavy on tormenting jukeboxes and empty glasses. And indeed, there's enough here to suggest that the country section of singer/ songwriter/ guitarist Monty Warren's record collection is well stocked (and if "Wedding Gown" reminds you a little too much of Jason & the Scorcher's "Broken Whiskey Glass," remember there are worse crimes).
But Trailer Park Angel mostly sounds like those jukeboxs are playing Rockpile, and the Faces emptied those glasses. In other words, more Georgia Satellites than George Jones, more Dave Edmunds than Dave Dudley. What's more, Warren's backing band for the bulk of the record is Terry Anderson and the Olympic Ass-Kickin Team, purveyors of North Carolina pub rock. Satellite guitarist Rick Richards plays on half the tracks. "Lonely Girl," "Think I'm in Love Again" and "Luggage Loader" exist to rock, and Warren and company do them up right.
Flip to the back cover while the disc spins, though, and you'll find a picture a little more complete than that on the front: There's lust ("Beautiful Girl"), love ("Wedding Gown"), struggle ("Love Stay True," and I dare you to not sing "Wake up, Maggie, I think I've got something to say to you" after the double drum beat at intro's end), farewell ("Long Goodbye") and beyond ("We Become Strangers"). Warren tells a relationship story that rings universal, and he sells the songs by letting his survivor scars show. Granted, his voice won't win any awards for excessive tunefulness or range or—hell, it's not going to win any awards, OK?—but it fits his stories. And that's what matters when making music to enliven truckstops and pubs.
The CD release party for Trailer Park Angel is Saturday, May 31, at The Pour House. The music starts at 9 p.m., and $6 gets you in.