Honky Tonkitis

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Deep End of the Bottle - CD

Honky Tonkitis: Deep End of the Bottle
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"The second album by the Milwaukee band Honky Tonkitis continues to mix equal parts snark and twang into something resembling a Bizarro World set at the Grand Ole Opry. Singer Johnny Maplewood's twisted sense of humor about matters of inebriation and fornication fits to the pedal-steel template of Webb Pierce and Ray Price serenades of heartbreak and drunkenness. However, Honky Tonkitis isn't all cheek at the expense of substance. It's not too far of a stretch to imagine big-time traditionalists in today's commercial country like Alan Jackson and George Strait covering "If It's Paradise." On the other hand, tunes such as "Which Are You First: Drunk or Stupid" and "Jukebox, You Suck" seem destined to remain in the band's own domain—but that's all the more reason to appreciate their unique take on how to make country alt."  

 Jamie Lee Rake, ExpressMilwaukee.com


After the success of their first album, "You Drink and Drive Me Crazy," Honky Tonkitis busts out a year and a half later with their second album, "Deep End of the Bottle," a further study in alcohol and heartbreak. The core twang is still there: Chris Conrad on his electric and baritone guitars, Jason Ploetz on the upright bass (if he ever falls down he can't be replaced), Tom Hanson on the crying fiddle, Kurt Weber on the amazingly small but amazingly loud drumset, and John Steffes' baritenor tune crooning. The band's enlisted Gabriel Stutz from beautiful Chicago to add his classic, crying pedal steel tones to this recording.

The songs are once again sad, comical and drunken, yet upbeat: the radio friendly "C'mon, Baby, Get it Off Your Chest," the rockabilly-inspired "Half-Ass Heartache," the generational anthem, "Jukebox, You Suck," and the new bitter classic, "I'm Leaving Wisconsin" propel this 16-song album into memorable, hook-laden areas of your heart yet to be touched by copious amounts of alcohol.

Sit back, pop a top, turn on the tunes, and get ready to salve your aching heart. She ain't left you, she's just looking for the proper moment to come back and get the rest of her stuff. This album will get you through the waiting.