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2013 Americana – Beautiful Loser Society – The Desperate Promenade

The time has come for me to try an understand,
that fate perhaps or circumstance has conspired to force my hand,
it’s easier to stand here, blind,deaf and dumb,
then to try to make sense of what’s behind and what’s to come….

The Beautiful Loser Society – The Desperate Promenade intro

So starts the latest release from The Beautiful Loser Society The Desperate Promenade and it gives you a pretty good inkling of what’s to come. CDBaby’s description of the album:

Mining the darkest corners of the American landscape for the stories that still ring true, this record strives, with banjo, pedal steel and distorted guitar, to give voice and recognition to the characters that live and struggle there.

The Beautiful Loser Society formed in 2001 when Chuck Barry and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Chelf teamed up. In 2004 they added a new rhythm section of Danny Bankston on drums and Mike McCluhan on bass and recorded their first album Aim Low. On The Desperate Promenade, percussionist Danny Bankston, guitarists Dale X Allen and Justin Richert, Carl Johnson on pedal steel and bassists John McHenry and Moe Cooley round out the band.

Their music gives voice to the downtrodden, simple working men and women of this country. The characters and events met along the road from the swamps of the Mississippi Delta to the high desert plateau of Southwest Colorado are the foundation of their songs. In their own words:

Snakes and haints and gators and all kinds of evil men lurk in murky rock ‘n roll shadows. The regrets of wasted years hang heavy in smoky barrooms and the age-old struggle between the darkness and the light plays out underneath neon signs where distorted guitars mingle with pedal steels”.

Aside from “The Desperate Promenade” the first song that caught my attention was “Hank’s Lament” about the great Hank Williams, but as I listened to the album the other day I also found ” 8 Second Ride” about bull riding and then “The Shadow and the Mire” and the pedal steel became a screeching guitar, only to return to the pedal steel on the honky-tonk “A Bottle and a Barroom” … and then came “Crazyville”, and Eights and Aces” and soon, again, it’s the entire album that I like! So go and check it out!! Bryant Liggett in The Durrango Herald writes:

“The Desperate Promenade” is a textbook example of what roots and/or Americana music should be: Country rock that lyrically reflects a seedier side of America and sounds like an analog recording from 40 years ago, a gritty yet working relationship of rock and country heavy on pedal and lap steel ripe for the PBR–drinking punk crowd who appreciates classic country giants. Fans will see it as a continuation of what the band has been doing now for years, serving as a vehicle for the writing of the Mississippi-born Barry, whose literature–inspired lyrics paint portraits of a real America.


“I like the sad-sack character kind of guys, the cocaine-addicted bull riders and stuff,” Barry said. “You think from Hank to Robert Johnson, you’re not going to get out of this world alive or you have the hellhounds on your trail. I’ve always been a fan of the southern literature. I like the gothic, swampy evil things.”

You can check out samples of music from The Desperate Promenade at CDBaby The Beautiful Loser Society