[OUTLAW COUNTRY] Stray from Interstate 5 a ways and Oregon gets a little bit country. "A little bit country" also describes the Lonesome Billies, four childhood friends turned western roadhouse band from just outside of Vancouver, Wash. The gang has spent the past several years establishing its country roots in Portland, digging deeper still with its latest LP, It's Good to Be Lonesome.
Produced by Brandon Eggleston (Modest Mouse, the Mountain Goats), the 13-track effort is drenched in whiskey. It's a drunk-and-dusty lesson in self-loathing, influenced by Waylon Jennings and Sturgill Simpson. While there's kitsch in the band's stage names—Gator Bill, Whiskey Bill, Bill Collins and Ornery Bill—there is bona fide sincerity and gloaming in its sound. The record trots at times and wallows at others, shadowing the stereotypical up-and-down lifestyle of the hard-working, hard-drinking agrarian.
There is the glass-clinking, gently swaying track âBetter to Forgetâ and the wild shuffle of âYâall Never Came Out West,â each given a gun-metal shimmer by steel guitar. Throughout, there is vocal camaraderie served alongside bobbing, two-stepping song structures. Life deals its various shitty blows, but the Lonesome Billies are here to help you cope, with little fuss or fabrication and plenty of plucky grit.
SEE IT: The Lonesome Billies play Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., with Travesura and Jake Ray, on Saturday, Aug. 29. 9 pm. $10. 21+.