100 DAMNED GUNS: : Musica de Tormento: CD

When Mitch Clem told me to check out 100 Damned Guns over a year ago, I filed the name away with the dozens of bands people tell me I’m totally going to love. I figured they’d fall somewhere in the broad genre of alt.country, maybe cowpunk with some mandolin or Dobro thrown on top. When I got a copy of Musica de Tormento, their first full-length album, I was completed blown away: solid, well-written country songs—real country, you understand, neither preservationist old-timey tunes nor the slick pop country of today’s radio, and just barely falling under the “alt” tag in its honest simplicity. Sure, the fact that all the members were previously in punk, garage, or metal bands does come through occasionally. The track “Red RiverValley” probably gets the punkiest, picking up the speed with a fast, solid drumbeat, but it’s immediately followed by “Hard Row to Hoe,” which I have every intention of playing for my dad (a confessed CMT addict). In essence, 100 Damned Guns is country and western music—and they’ve been named C&W Band of the Year in their hometown of Fort Worth, Texas, two years running. They’ve played bluegrass festivals, shared bills with Wayne “The Train” Hancock, and recorded with The Marked Men. The only way out is up. To put it succinctly: I love this album.

 –Sarah Shay (TXMF)