Back in the ’80s, a sub-genre cropped up that was labeled as country punk. The names like Rank & File, Danny & Dusty, Blood On The Saddle and a few other names were dropped around, and actually, those acts really did come up with some interesting music. How much of their ingredients had to do with punk and how much with the country, was always open to debate, but their legacy, somehow unjustly got buried through the upcoming decades.
Yet, country-punk never went away, and it currently has a healthy residence with one Scotty Karate, considered as a local legend in Michigan, with both sides of the possible divide – country fans and punks.
Actually, listening to “Always Honey,” his latest offering, it is easy to see why. His songwriting is based on all the country/Americana traditions, like on the brief ‘Ruby Red’.
At the same time, he has that ‘I couldn’t care less’ attitude so associated with early punk, or you could say rockabilly, possibly one of the early punk predecessors. There, the best evidence lies in the quite rocking “SSMM” (Somebody Stole My Move).
Still, he can go the singer-songwriter route too, as “Gone It,” one of the best tracks here shows.
Adding to that feeling is the fact that Scotty Karate recorded the whole album in practically one take with very little overdubs. Quite a confident move that probably comes from all those gigs in small, smoky bars, well probably before the pandemic set in. Great sound, nonetheless.