Jonny Two Bags – Salvation Town

Isotone Records

Isotone Records

You’d expect a solo album from Social Distortion guitarist Jonny “Two Bags” Wickersham to have an edge – which Salvation Town does. But rather than being pumped full of Social Distortion’s raging punkbilly blues roar, Salvation Town is more like a collaboration between Nick Lowe and Keith Richards: think vintage Rockpile with a carton of Luckies to go.

Two Bags’ solo debut is jam-packed with tunes that’ll welcome you in and buy you a beer, then fill your head full of rootsy rhythms, neat guitar riffs and lyrics that repeatedly offer up killer tattoo fodder – or at least a bumper sticker. (I kid you not: “Riding on clay wheels ‘til the bitter end.” Or, “I’m still the same wreck you knew and loved.” And then there’s my personal fave: “I got one foot in the gutter and one foot kicking in the door of Heaven.” Jesus … what more could you ask for?)

There are three points you should know about Salvation Town:

First and foremost, Jonny Two Bags is a hell of a songwriter. Besides the aforementioned hooks that’ll mire themselves in your head on the first spin, the ten tunes on Salvation Town are all blessed with the ability of reminding you of something while standing on their own hind legs. From the full-moon-through-the-broken-window junkie doo-wop shimmer of “Alone Tonight” to the X-Pensive Winos-style leather-jacketed-angel swagger of “Wayward Cain”, Two Bags alternately (as well as simultaneously) makes you want to dance, sing along, order another round, and/or do some serious thinking. Pretty cool.

Secondly: you want some sweet geetar? (Chances are you’re showing up at Two Bags’ party looking for just that.) Salvation Town is chock full. Big-ass clanging-chord coolness (“One Foot In The Gutter”, “Hope Dies Hard”); break-your-heart passages, tears caught in the glow of the amp’s tubes (“Forlorn Wheels”); little blasts of overdriven Spaghetti Western pickin’ (“Avenues”); and soaring lap and pedal steel all over the place.

Don’t stop now – there’s more! Click right here to read the conclusion of my review of Salvation Town over at Jambands.com

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