Bill Kirchen & Austin De Lone


(Proper/Last Music Company)

The Master Of The Telecaster teams up with the ebullient Ace Of The 88s to make a brand new album that they are about to tour. Their live sets roll from excitement to tenderness to caustic humour and back, peppered with virtuoso instrumental solos. One of the many good things about this release is that the US rhythm section of Rick Richards and David Carroll is featured as well as the UK chap being Paul ‘Bassman’ Riley and Malcolm Mills.

A few times back at a London gig by Kirchen I berated him for using a baritone guitar and thereby inducing me to purchase one for my own sonic armoury. Bill laughed in my face and hissed “Man – you won’t regret it !”. Of course, he was right and I have been using mine a lot lately recording and live. This is all music to be heard live but it’s great to have a collection of new numbers to play around the house or driving.

Hounds Of The Bakersfield has that twanging guitar and rolling piano and Kirchen tells the tale of an early band. Try keeping your feet still as the snare taps and the bass bounces along and those vocal harmonies build. Wine, Wine, Wine is honky-tonk ballad, sung in a bar, somewhere by De Lone. This has been played at many recent shows and already sounds forty-eight years old. The baritone dances with pedal steel and the six-string. Austin’s voice is made for this strand of country.

Let’s Rock has heavy chugging electric piano and ringing bluesy guitar, catchy as hell ; Oxblood thunders into earshot and you would swear Jerry Lee Lewis was in the room! Think It Over takes its time, nice touch of tremelo on the baritone. Losing Hand has barroom acoustic piano, brush drumming and stalking guitar. The blues story unfolds..a real highlight of the record. Warm And Tender Love sounds as though Elvis is about to come in and sing the song. All Tore Up is frantic rockabilly and never lets up, De Lone on lead vocal.

Already Walking gives the acoustic guitar an outing on a reflective tune that sustains a light touch ; Back In The Day is a dark ballad and Gurf Morlix guesting on guitar. Kirchen’s fabled Dylan version The Times They Are A-Changin’ has bite a-plenty and is sung with spirit. The guitar solo is majestic. Somebody’s Going Home is all harmony vocal and funky backing with a Staples/ Cooder vibe. No Need For Knocking is a Delbert-style happy song. Smoke ! Smoke ! Smoke That Cigarette may stir memories of Commander Cody days…

You could not find better exponents of honky tonk and country rock music – not that these gentlemen are limited to these strands at all. So to have a new set of numbers here on this disc is a treat indeed. No gimmicks, no shamming, no bandwagons…

Pete Sargeant

(Many thanks to Jay Taylor at Prescription PR for help with this review)


Bill Kirchen & Austin De Lone's new album 'Transatlanticana' UK Edition is out on Friday 3rd March 2017 on Proper/Last Music Company.

You can pre-order the album from Amazon UK here:

Live UK dates by the band are imminent – we suggest a check of their website:

Bill Kirchen