They all have beards. Astoundingly, journalists seem compelled to comment on budding rock group Hillbilly Herald’s facial hair. I never knew beards were out of place on bands. Even so, if HH is any indication, I guess we like ’em extra hairy these days.
The Herald’s self-titled debut is equally hairy, and that’s a good thing. Lead singer Jimmy Herald has an expressive, rough-around-the-edges voice, and the entire album could soundtrack an action-flick super-star cruising in a convertible, getting pumped up to save the world. Think Bruce Willis in Armageddon, particularly on the two opening tracks (“Full Throttle” and “Greener Grass”). Slower-paced, brooding songs (“Scream” and “Gold Digga’”) drag, but that doesn’t stop the traditional rock-n-roll (“Rock ’N’ Roll” and “Dead on the Money”) from shining through, nor does it impinge on the twinge of down-South groove (“Dallas Bride”). The final song, a cover of John Denver’s “Country Roads,” is the five minute cool-down at the end of a 30-minute workout, and I definitely needed the exercise.