Derailers | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Derailers 

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DERAILERS

If I had to guess this Austin quartet's favorite song of all time, I'd go with the Beatles' version of Buck Owens's "Act Naturally." Like that recording, the Derailers' third album, Full Western Dress (Sire), captures the best of the two worlds they straddle--the tough Bakersfield honky-tonk of Owens and the sweet vocal interplay and catchy melodies of the early Fab Four. Their punchy original "Whatever Made You Change Your Mind" swipes bits of "I'm Looking Through You," "Just to Spend the Night With You" brims with British Invasion glee, and "Then She Kissed Me" is a gender-bending cover of a Phil Spector hit for the Crystals in the manner of the Beatles' take on the Shirelles' "Baby It's You." But this ain't just Beatlemania at the Grand Ole Opry--there's also some driving rockabilly, a lush Roy Orbison homage, and a touching duet with Buck Owens himself on "Play Me the Waltz of the Angels." Lead singers and primary songwriters Tony Villanueva and Brian Hofeldt understand that soul and hooks were as important as the twang of steel guitar to hard-core 50s and 60s honky-tonk, and while they may dress the part of revivalists, the perspective they bring to the music is absolutely contemporary. Friday, 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508. Peter Margasak

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Chris Buck.

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