Truckstop Honeymoon's follow-up to its debut album delivers much more than what its hokey title implies. The marital duo of Kate Euliss and Mike West has created a record that not only chronicles life below I-10 (which is like the Great Wall for some of us) but delves into southern culture with such humor and wit that Ocala seems a premier destination for the holidays. Filled with handy banjo, guitar, and mandolin picking, Euliss and West play bluegrass and roots inspired music that leaves no hillbilly stereotype unturned. Truckstop playfully draws portraits of characters that are off to the state pen, birthing babies, cheating, drinking and even getting booted from Bible school. Although a couple of its tracks may retell the same old story, Christmas in Ocala offers parody that is as amusing as it is pertinent. While apparently giddy, songs such as “Down Wind from the Refinery” and the thinly masked “Capitol Hill” reveal deeper undertones at work, and the somber voice of Euliss lends “Grief and Joy” a surprising poignancy. Of course, there is always the risk of taking things too seriously, especially when “you're with your sister's boyfriend / and your sister don't know.”
by Patrick Strange
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