Bob Wayne – Back To The Camper

  • Cole Faulkner posted
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Bob Wayne

Back To The Camper - People Like You Records

Three albums after signing with People Like You Records, southern country punk Bob Wayne continues to make waves with his rambunctious, hell-raising brand of honky tonk tunes. Outlaw Carnie served as the ultimate introduction to Bob’s early work, follow-up Till The Wheels Fall Off served up a second course of hillbilly road kill, familiar tire tracks and all.  While shy of a sophomore label slump, the album didn’t aspire further than the status quo, leading to the question of whether Wayne had hit a creative ceiling.  Well, as confirmed in the release of Bob’s newest release, Back To The Camper, the answer is a big hell no!

This time around Bob not only hits the road in grand fashion with his signature tall tales and rambler’s lifestyle, but he also shows significant growth as a songwriter beyond his typecast form.  Tracks like “Sam Tucker” embody exactly what you signed up for, but those like “20 Miles To Juarez” will have fans looking at Wayne in a new light.  “Sam Tucker” embodies the speed, wit and punked-up twang that Wayne is known for.  The story of searching for the fabled lost stash of an obsessive gold miner that “turned mud into gold” leads listeners down Alabama backwoods and creeks with many a plot twist and plenty of colourful language and laughs to boot.  Sure to become a Bob Wayne classic, fans will have this lively song on repeat for months to come.

But without succumbing to journalistic cliché and claiming that Bob has “matured,” “20 Miles To Jaurez” features a marked ambition and refined conveyance that Wayne hasn’t fully been explored until this point.  Played at a more traditional tempo, Wayne’s band trots along with a combination of steady percussion and remarkably artistic fiddling.  Unlike “Sam Tucker’s” haste there is no sense of urgency, allowing listeners to take in every word of this roughneck tale of star crossed, on the run lovers.  Sharing the mic with a talented female vocalist, the two masterfully trade verses and lines as they share the honors of weaving the story of their by-chance encounter and bonding over a car chase and shootout as they fled to Mexico to escape separate crimes.  The song serves as a powerful emotional statement and a rare treat for Wayne’s fans.  “The River” immediately builds on this wholehearted direction, sneaking in a truly beautiful song about nothing more than the river’s peaceful flow from the mountain to the ocean.  For a guy that’s built his career on shock value and humour, the track marks a formidable risk, but his personification of the river and its many twists and bends is so well written it’s sure to capture the heart and imagination of even the rowdiest roadie.

The rest of the album slides back and forth somewhere between “20 Miles” and “Sam Tucker.”  Tracks like “Dope Train’s” cautionary tale of sweltering eternal damnation (featuring vocals by Red Simpson) and “Evangeline’s” haunting narrative of betrayal and “cursed love” float on in soft and hazy.  Generally these songs flesh out and expand upon the brooding, upright bass-thumping tempo initially explored an album ago in occasional tracks like “Hunger In My Soul.”  Where Bob may have rushed into a gunfight with guns blazing a couple years ago, songs like “Showdown” steady their aim and hit a bull’s-eye.  Wayne even explores elements of jazzy piano solos, taking a deep breath and working suspense into each shootout.

For a guy that once wrote a song entitled “Love Songs Suck,” Back To The Camper is full of surprises and marks Bob Wayne’s most significant career growth.  Rest assured there’s a little something here for everyone.  Fans looking for a taste of a finger flipping lawless Wayne should find comfort in “Sam Tucker,” “Hillbilly Heaven,” “ACAB” and “I Just Got Out,” while those looking for Bob’s next step will find plenty to contemplate in just about everything in between.  With Back To The Camper, Wayne has stepped out of his own typecast shadow and proven than he is far more than just a rebel with a dirty mouth.