Die Shellsuit, Die!

An Alternative Music Magazine

The Road Spit Me Out

Billy Wallace

Usually when I put off reviewing an album for ages it’s for one of two reasons.

Either I’m really busy and I’m not finding time to review anything, or I don’t think I’m going to like it and I don’t want to have to listen to it. The Road Spit Me Out by Billy Wallace falls into neither of these categories. I’ve been putting off reviewing it because I just can’t stop listening to it, and I don’t want to lose the excuse I have to do so.

On first listen it’s good. Certainly good enough to make me want to listen to it again. On the hundredth odd listen it’s evolved into something truly wonderful. Band members going solo seems to be all the rage at the minute, and it’s sad to say that not all of them manage to transpose their writing talents onto the solo stage - the ever more wonderful Chuck Ragan being one notable exception. I have to admit I’ve not heard Billy’s old band (The Wading Girl) before, though I want to now, but this album more than stands as a future classic in its own right.

Billy plays southern country blues with just a hint of jazz, ranging from maudlin ballads to rambunctious sing-alongs, recorded in a variety of basements and bedrooms across Virginia and Ohio. It’s rough and ready and raw and frankly it’s bloody wonderful. It’s only improved by the long list of friends Billy has to help him out, playing a range of instruments from a trombone and flugelhorn to a mandolin and viola, by way of the trusty old guitar and banjo. It reminds me a bit of some of the R Crumb songs from the American Splendor soundtrack, if that means anything to anyone... Oh and the packaging is awesome too. I think this is my (belated) album of last year.

Listen: www.myspace.com/billywallaceva