Escape from the Chicken Coop
It isn’t unheard for blues singers to cut a country album; Tracy Nelson did so four decades ago, and numerous other artists have explored their country sides.
On Escape from the Chicken Coop, Watermelon Slim- Bill Homans when he’s at home- cuts loose on a collection of mostly truck-driving songs, blurring the line between country and blues.
Having been a trucker for much of his life, Slim approaches the material with honesty; the self-penned songs- especially “Caterpillar Whine”, “300 Miles”, and “America’s Wives”¬- sound natural coming from the slide guitarist. A plum pitiful performance of “Wreck on the Highway” and a rousing “Hank Williams You Wrote My Life”- seal the deal.
Slim’s slightly slurred singing- whether caused by a tobacco plug, loose dentures, or a natural speech pattern- takes some getting used to, but once it catches, it doesn’t let go.
Recorded with top-flight Nashville studio cats, Watermelon Slim’s fourth disc for Ontario’s Northern Blues label continues his streak of superior releases.