Barstool Romeos' 'Twisted Steel & Sex Appeal' is a classic country debut

David Glover and Charles Brooks/Special to knoxville.com
Barstool Romeos lead singer-songwriters Andy Pirkle (top) and Mike McGill, enlisted members of the White Lightnin' Burlesque troupe to convey the perfect atmosphere for the band's new album "Twisted Steel & Sex Appeal."

David Glover and Charles Brooks/Special to knoxville.com Barstool Romeos lead singer-songwriters Andy Pirkle (top) and Mike McGill, enlisted members of the White Lightnin' Burlesque troupe to convey the perfect atmosphere for the band's new album "Twisted Steel & Sex Appeal."

“Twisted Steel & Sex Appeal,” Barstool Romeos (www.barstoolromeos.com)

Great honky tonk music is hard to come by — unless you happen across the debut album by Knoxville’s Barstool Romeos.

The Romeos sound like they’ve been soaked in a barrel of classic country for 20 years and dried off with Elvis’ sweat towel.

These guys understand that great country music has heart and soul and doesn’t get made by committee. The Romeos’ songs “Cheap Bourbon Whiskey,” “If I Only Had a Dollar,” “On Hooch,” “Whiskey Women & Pain” and “I’ll Get By” should make the members of Nashville’s hit factories hide their faces in shame that they didn’t create them instead of the half-hearted cute dreck they’re currently producing.

Co-lead singer-songwriters and guitarists Andy Pirkle and Mike McGill are terrific partners in crime, both blending vocals and songwriting skills. Bassist Josh Sidman and drummer Eric Keeble provide a rock solid rhythm section with no frills. And guests, including Scott Maddux, Tim Lee, Darrell Puett, Roger Schmidt and Nate Barrett, pitch in to make the recordings sound darn near perfect.

At the core, though, are great songs.

“The Man of the Hour” finds Pirkle accepting his lot as a member of “the also-rans of love ...” and a disposable partner. “Buddy Rogers” is a testament of a man serving life at Brushy Mountain Prison after drunkenly murdering another man.

In “Troubles” McGill sings “... Humble pie is my slice of life/I eat all of my helpings twice/just a recipe for my reality. ...”

He’s wrong. The reality is his hard times have resulted in classic music.

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