Rumble, Shake And Tumble is the latest release by Australian country-roots-rock band Wagons and is set to drop August 16, 2011, on Thirty Tigers records. Wagons have carved out a following in their native Australia with their wily personalities, boisterous live performances, and roots based sound. Country music fans will find a lot to like in Wagons. The band blends country, rock, blues, and psychedelic sounds with the deep crooning vocals of front man Henry Wagons, whom wrote all the albums songs except “Willie Nelson” which he co-wrote with two other songwriters. The album, however, is not traditional country or even contemporary country. It is more of a heavily country influenced amalgamation of various musical styles that may appeal to a certain sub-group of the country music fan base. The term americana music would most accurately describe the sound on this album.
The first song on the album, “Down Low,” is a jangly guitar driven song reminiscent of classic Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. “Down Low” tells the story of two young lovers who agree to keep their relationship a secret from all others until they can elope and be together openly. “Moon into the Sun” is a Bob Dylan meets Johnny Cash country-rock song that features the whine of a steel guitar and the deep biting vocals of Henry Wagons. The lyrics spin a familiar yarn of the loss of love and a desire to reunite that love. “Willie Nelson” is another country-rock tune that begins with an infectious guitar riff and steadily builds momentum into the chorus. The song pays homage to Willie Nelson and other outlaw country artists of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Wagons: Rumble, Shake And Tumble is an interesting combination of various musical styles that may appeal to a variety of music fans. Nevertheless, the album is at times brilliant and at other times so over the top and derivative that it falls flat and ventures on the precipice of cheese. The lyrics are all too often unimaginative and repetitive to the point of frustration and comedy. The sound the Wagons attempt to capture may have made them an Australian success; however, American music fans will surely find the total package of Rumble, Shake And Tumble to be lacking. The music on the album is superb but the lyrics take much away from the overall product and will make listeners move on to the next song again and again hoping to find one that may put all of the pieces together. Wagons have all the necessary elements to be a successful crossover hit in the United States but this album will not be the catalyst for that success.