Hot Water Music has been one of the most consistent acts in music for the last decade in terms of how good each and every album they’ve released has been. We’ve also been treated to some excellent Hot Water Music side projects, including Blacktop Cadence and Cro(w)s, who have each impressed not only myself but a slew of others as well, proving just how versatile the members of Hot Water Music really are. This versatility is only further expanded with the release of Discography And Then Some from Rumbleseat, featuring both Chuck Ragan and Chris Wollard.
Rumbleseat pay homage to their southern Gainesville roots with their own brand of country-influenced music. Everything is played on acoustic guitars by Chuck and Chris, with the addition of Samantha Jones on bass, with no percussion whatsoever. The band switches in and out between standard rocking acoustic music and full-on country anthems about whiskey and causing mischief. You can’t help but smile at some of the lyrics in the more country-flavored songs; take the closer “Rye Whiskey” for example: “If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck, I’d dive to the bottom and never come up. Now the ocean ain't whiskey, and I ain't a duck; I play jack of diamonds and trust to luck.” It’s creative as all hell, and Rumbleseat pull it off remarkably well without sounding too cheesy.
Ragan’s and Wollard’s voices sound excellent on here; their voices not only complement each other well, but sound great against music that they aren’t entirely used to singing to. Samantha Jones sings a bit too, and it does well in the favor of spicing things up a bit, especially when all three members sing (or yell) in unison, seen in its fullest on “Cursing Concrete,” one of the top songs found on Discography And Then Some. And while on the topic of vocals, Wollard sounds chilling on what is my favorite cut from the album, “Restless.” It’s a slow track with a haunting melody, and it puts itself near the top of anything any Hot Water Music members have ever done, Hot Water Music material included. “Trestles” features some nice use of a harmonica (seriously, how can you make country music and not use a harmonica?), and the opener “California Burritos” wouldn’t be out of place in a John Wayne flick. The country songs are fun to listen to a few times, but after a while, you tend to ignore them in favor of the better, more standard-fare songs. That’s not to say they aren’t bad; they just aren’t nearly as good. Still, the balance of regular and country songs allow things to never get boring, a flaw that haunts many acoustic albums.
If you have ever liked Hot Water Music, you should pick this up. It’s a hell of a good time, and it only proves how talented the members of Hot Water Music really are.