Rum Runner “In Guns at Cyrano’s”

Album Reviews | Nov 30th, 2006

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Record Label: Stumble Records
Band Link:
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I never heard of this band until this CD was sent to me for review. I’m glad I got this because this band is really good and has a unique sound. Rum Runner are from Calgary and blend folk, bluegrass, blues, rockabilly and punk rock. More and more bands are starting to mix those types of music with punk, but Rum Runner seem to have gotten it right. They don’t have that cliche sound, and seemed to have developed a style that fits their own. You can tell that band is influenced by The Pogues and old country western music but they don’t go out their way to make it that known.

The vocals of Al Drinkle are really great and have that growl raspy style. His vocals are sort of like Tom Waits and Shane MacGowan’s singing style, but Mike Ness also comes to mind as well. The singer just sounds like he’s been smoking a pack of cigarettes and drinking whiskey since he was born. Sometimes I wish I had a voice like that but then again I don’t smoke me or drink so that wouldn’t work out. What I like about this band is it’s very punk rock oriented, but with harmonicas, banjos and other bluegrass/folk instruments. I love the song “So Long Outsider,” which starts out with a little reggae riff. I think this tune might pay homage to Dennis Brown’s “So Long Rastafari” as well? The band covers “My Rifle, My Pony and I,” which was from the western Rio Bravo. I think that might be one of the best songs on the album because the style of the band fits that type of song, but also fits Drinkle’s vocals as well. I’m not sure if the “The Visitor” is a cover but it definitely sounds like something out of a Spaghetti Western movie. I think of Spaghetti Westerns because of the trumpet used in the song.

I didn’t know what to expect from this CD but I think it’s one of the better ones I’ve heard this year. I’ve listened to this a few times already and like it more & more each time. These guys are really young too, so I hope they stick with this sound and keep making albums like this! To hear what this band sounds like, visit their myspace page at:

Bottom Line: For fans of Swingin’ Utters, Scotch Greens, The Pogues and Mike Ness!
Notable Tracks: So Long Outsider; Glass Heart Roller; My Rifle, My Pony and I; The Visitor, Secrets and Lies
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