NATO COLES AND THE BLUE DIAMOND BAND: Live at Grumpy’s Bar & Grill: CD

There are really only two kinds of people in the world: those lucky enough to have seen Nato Coles And The Blue Diamond Band live and those who have yet to experience the brilliance of this artist. The first word that came to my mind when I saw these guys at Awesome Fest 2014 was “cowpunk”—not as a label or a pigeonhole, but as a description of a sound that is hard-charging, honest, and gritty. Like a horseback ride through the L.A. river. This band draws on the legacy of bands like Jason And The Scorchers, The Blasters, and The Gun Club: country music for people who don’t like ignorance and punk music for people who like a little twang. This live album captures a little bit of the power and the glory of a live show, but it’s worthy of a place in your collection for those times when you can’t get out to a show. ––Lisa Weiss (Rum Bar, rumbarrecords.bandcamp.com)