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Dollar Store

Like Bloodshot Records labelmates the Waco Brothers, with whom they share guitar player/vocalist Dean Schlabowske and bass player Alan Doughty, Dollar Store come off as a hardscrabble, ornery lot who wear their blue collars with pride and more than a little defiance. Add generous amounts of booze and a healthy dose of 21st-century skepticism, and you have a band you can party with on the way to the union meeting.

Their second CD, Money Music, is a hard-charging, throw-it-all-into-the-wind affair. They make the kind of music for people who look like them: scruffy boots, jeans, cowboy hats, a beer and a cigarette always close by. But, you know, with brains and a big heart underneath those hats and T-shirts. This is country rock--heavy on the rock that the country sits on.

The first and title track barrels out into the intersection of Chuck Berry Avenue and Hank Williams Road, picking up what Jason and the Scorchers started a couple of decades back and running with it. They show a marked affinity for working men and women on several tracks like "Company Town," "Scrap Truck" and the terrific, bittersweet (or maybe just bitter) "Work = Reward." That empathy extends to those behind bars in "In the Gravel Yard" and the down-and-out in "Hurricane Charley."

Dollar Store may be going toe-to-toe with some serious stuff, but their collective rock therapy involves blowing the doors off and throwing a continuous party, which they do damn near as well as Waco Brothers themselves. And that is saying something.

More by Carl Hanni

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