Home Read Classic Album Review: BR549 | This is BR549

Classic Album Review: BR549 | This is BR549

The Nashville oddballs sand down their sonic edges on this commercial offering.


This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


For years, alt-country quintet BR5-49 were Nashville’s coolest combo and best-kept secret. Their discs dispensed a joyful, jumping fusion of retro sounds from rockabilly to country swing, accompanied by a visual style to match.

But things have changed on their third studio disc This is BR549. They’ve dropped the hyphen. They’ve dumped the kitschy duds. And they’ve sanded the edges of their charmingly quirky sound. Novelty honky-tonkers like Too Lazy to Work, Too Nervous to Steal and Psychic Lady don’t kick up their heels quite as high as the boys’ older cuts. A cover of the EverlysPrice of Love veers dangerously close to roots-rock, and a fiddle-driven boogie of Nick Lowe’s Play That Fast Thing One More Time doesn’t really prompt that response. Other tunes — especially most of the disc’s twangy second half — do manage to return to the rambunctious playfulness of old. But too much of this CD sounds like the work of a band that’s tired of being Nashville’s best-kept secret — and is willing to sacrifice being cool for being successful.