Tuesday, 23rd January 2018. 10:39:31pm ET
Reviews CD Reviews Alternative, Indie Rock Miss Deringer- Winter Hill


ARTIST: Miss Derringer

ALBUM: Winter Hill

LABEL: Nickel and Dime Records

REVIEWER: Matthew J.

DATE: 2-11-10

Influenced by elements of country, punk and rockabilly, Miss Derringer's sound blends all of their classic inspirations into a modern take on honky-tonk punk rock that's catchy enough to appeal to just about anyone. A large part of the appeal comes from lead singer Liz McGrath; just a little bit husky-throated, she sings like Blondie's Debbie Harry had she been a southern belle fallen on hard times rather than a New York City model and artist. At times, the resemblance is almost uncanny, as on "Black Tears," which draws not only on Harry's vocal style but also on Blondie's mix of '70s punk edge and '60s pop hooks. Classic pop harmonies also show up on "Heartbreaks and Razorblades," a modern take on the old teenage death song that replaces the stereotypical tragic car accident with the altogether more ambiguous suicide. If McGrath's vocal charisma is a large part of the appeal, so is her chemistry with the band's lead guitarist and songwriter, Morgan Slade, who also happens to be her husband. On the rockabilly-styled break-up song "All the Pretty Things," they sing a sarcastic duet, she playing the role of long-suffering wife, he the philandering husband, running around with loose women while she thinks he's off to war. As lead guitarist and songwriter, it's also Slade who adds the punk edge to undercut the sugary sweetness of McGrath's voice, turning "Bulletproof Heart" from a sad country lament to something in the vein of Social Distortion's more melancholy work. More punk than country and more pop than punk, Miss Derringer's songs are inspired by the tear-in-my-beer heartbreak of acts like Johnny Cash and the senior Hank Williams, but McGrath and Slade's genius is their ability to translate the themes of '50s honky-tonk into a context that fits right alongside The Ramones, Blondie, and The Clash. You don't have to love country music to enjoy this album; you just have to like the sound of an electric guitar and lyrics about being done wrong, and those are things that almost anyone can relate to.

Check out the band online at www.missderringer.com.


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