Eddie Spaghetti – Sundowner (Music Review)

Sundowner cover

Eddie Spaghetti - Sundowner

Sundowner is the third solo album from Eddie Spaghetti, but his first released through Bloodshot Records. The new label doesn’t change much, though. A review of this could match the earlier albums almost word for word. His formula is a series of country covers, with just a couple originals, as always including selections from both Steve Earle and Spaghetti’s own Supersuckers.

Spaghetti is a competent but unremarkable singer, and his band matches him in that. His strength here isn’t so much in his performance, but in his excellent taste as a curator. Spanning generations of country, and even choosing a couple curveballs from the punk scene, everyone should expect to learn some new songs from this album. (Did you ever expect to hear a country cover of The Dwarves or Lee Harvey Oswald Band?) I wonder, though, if I would prefer him to devote this energy to hosting a radio show or releasing compilations. His renditions stick so close to the originals that there sometimes seems to be little purpose to them. But then, nothing about this album implies commercial calculation: From the cover picture of his wife to the closing song by his son, not to mention the rambling greeting inside, this is obviously a labor of love. (And yes, those elements appear on all his solo albums.) From that perspective, it’s easy to enjoy this. I may wish Spaghetti tried to put his own mark on these covers, but his enthusiasm for them is unmistakeable. As an ambassador between country music and the punk scene, his intended audience will get a lot out of this.

As always, the cover of his own Supersuckers song (in this case, “Marie”) fares poorly next to the classics he’s chosen, but he acquits himself well with a couple new songs. They may not be technically the best on the album, but at least there are no better versions out there to compare them to. They flesh out the album, and establish him as a creative force in his own right.

Compared to his other albums, this doesn’t hit the highs of Extra Sauce (which had all his first picks of songs to cover, and was elevated, surprisingly, by an excellent harmonica performance), but it regains the energy that Old No. 2 often lacked. I’m still holding out hope for him to release an original country album someday. He’s already proven that he has the aptitude for that, both on his own and with the Supersuckers. In the meantime, these interesting but somewhat forgettable fans-only albums do their part to flesh out the legacy of a great rock-and-roll star.

Grade: C+


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