Home Read Albums Of The Week: Waco Brothers | The Men That God Forgot

Albums Of The Week: Waco Brothers | The Men That God Forgot

The Chicago roots-rockers still know how to put the surge in insurgent country — but now they also know enough to rein it in when they have something important to say.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Shaking off the plague days like a snake sheds its skin, The Waco Brothers stumble out of the empty, burning desert with a fierce thirst and an epic new album: The Men That God Forgot. It’s the first collection of original Waco tunes since 2016’s Going Down In History and comes to you via their own label.

The Waco Brothers got together in Chicago in the mid-’90s; battle-weary punk musicians who wanted nothing more than to play classic country covers for free beer in their adopted home city. Their residencies at local bars became legendary for the sheer volume, speed and energy they brought to this task

After an early and particularly deranged appearance at SXSW, one wag dubbed the Wacos “Clash meets Cash.” They responded by unleashing a fistful of ferocious albums and endlessly entertaining live gigs that defined the insurgent country movement.

Photo by Mr. Jay Em.

Every night is still Friday night for The Waco Brothers — but these new songs lace that reckless exuberance with a more sober awareness of the tsunami of cynical corruption and materialism that infects our everyday existence. Best That Money Can Buy rips its verses from what’s left of honest journalism while In The Dark provides a requiem for functioning democracy AND boasts the best twin-lead guitar solo since Thin Lizzy. The album ends with Nowhere To Run, a deceptively gentle dance number — inspired by a night on the Outlaw Country Cruise when the Wacos backed up their hero Lee “Scratch” Perry — that presents the struggle for social and economic justice as neverending. George Walks With Jesus is a song about George Jones walking with Jesus.

The Waco Brothers lost their powerhouse drummer Joe Camarillo to a stroke in January 2021 and it took some time to regroup. They’d often been joined onstage by violinist Jean Cook and drummer Dan Massey (ex-Robbie Fulks), who had deputized for Joe for years, so now the time seemed right to add them both as permanent members.

The Men That God Forgot is the 10th Waco Brothers full-length album and was recorded with Mike Hagler at Kingsize Soundlabs in Chicago in 2022. The cinematic brass parts were arranged and performed by longtime collaborator Max Crawford with Dave Smith. Other Waco cousins appearing are Barkley Mckay on piano and organ, Patty Vega on jingling tambourine and Andre Michot of the Lost Bayou Ramblers on accordion.”


Photo by Mr. Jay Em.