Bill Kirchen

King of Dieselbilly
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There’s something about the noxious fumes of an 18-wheeler that breeds some of the best honky-tonk/Tele-wrangling around. From Gene Moles’ mind-blowing twang with Red Simpson to Dave Dudley’s classic sides, hearing those tales of the road makes me happier than a trucker scoring a lot lizard. Culled from his various Hightone sides, King of Dieselbilly is a wonderful introduction to Kirchen’s style, which from his days with Commander Cody, is the most fully realized update of the classic honky-tonk 6-string oeuvre. Kirchen has always let his freak-flag fly, incorporating rock, blues, and whatever else into his twangy mix. Highlights include two versions of his signature tune, “Hot Rod Lincoln,” one of which is with the Twangbangers (a supergroup that features Kirchen, Redd Volkaert, Dallas Wayne, and pedal steeler Joe Goldmark), and “Truck Stop at the End of the World,” where Kirchen lays back, providing clucky double-stops, and rumbling twang. Breaker, breaker. Hightone.
—Darrin Fox