The Barstool Romeos say nearly all that needs to be said. They make music that's soaked in beer and bourbon and ripe for the honky-tonk — and they're ready to make you fall in love with them.
"It has been a labor of love," says co-lead singer songwriter/guitarist Mike McGill.
"For the last two years," adds co-lead counterpart Andy Pirkle.
Both of the men, minus bassist Josh Sidman and drummer Eric Keeble, are preparing to perform on late-night radio. They arrived in a cab, because they've come from practicing for the performance that will coincide with the release of band's new album, "Twisted Steel and Sex Appeal," and, well, they needed to practice for the party, too. The debut album is pure honky-tonk — country mixed liberally with classic rock 'n' roll. The songs "Cheap Bourbon Whiskey," "If I Only Had a Dollar," "Whiskey Women & Pain" and "Troubles" sound like numbers that could've been on your granddad's jukebox.
All of the members of the band are local veterans. McGill and Keeble are probably better known as a part of local hard country heroes The Drunk Uncles. Pirkle was part of the punk rock act Speedshifter. Sidman arrived in town with the Earl Brothers and played with Christabel and the Jons, The Maid-Rite String Band and deek hoi.
"Speedshifter was a lot more of a stretch for me than the Romeos," says Pirkle. "I was steeped in country music. I'd always be out with my dad in his truck and we'd listen to WIVK and they played a lot of great stuff back then."
McGill's musical influences were similar. Country radio played when the family would take long trips.
"My parents were real spontaneous people," says McGill. "You'd come home from school and they'd say, 'Pack your bags for the next two days!' You'd listen to the radio wherever you were going."
McGill and Pirkle say the new album is their music career highlight to date.
"I really feel like this is the first time we did it exactly the way we wanted it," says McGill. "I can listen to it front to back and enjoy it all."
"Well, you DID produce it!" says Pirkle.
The genesis of the group definitely goes back to when McGill and Pirkle, longtime buddies, decided it was time to work together.
"We'd known each other for 12, 15 years," says McGill. "Five years ago, neither of us was doing much. We sort of double-dog-dared each other."
They met in a buddy's basement. Pirkle had the basis of the song "Piner" and McGill added the perfect lick to it.
"Then we had to go get a case of beer!" says Pirkle.
The band members changed instruments. McGill, who had never played electric guitar, traded his acoustic for electric. Pirkle had never played acoustic and took on that role and Sidman, enlisted a little later, had expertise on the acoustic bass but was convinced to play electric, which he had never played.
McGill and Pirkle say they couldn't be happier with the album or the group.
"Scott Maddux (who played some electric guitar to the album) said, 'It tastes like country, but it smells a little bit like rock 'n' roll.' You know, it DOES have a little bit of an attitude," says McGill.
Barstool Romeos CD release party
With: White Lightnin' Burlesque
When: 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22
Where: Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria, 200 E. Jackson Ave.
© 2013, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!