Cowboy Nation

A Journey Out Of Time

Shanachie/Western Jubilee Recording Co.

Hey, cowpoke. Yeah you. I don’t care if your family came over on the Mayflower or if they moved here from some politically jacked nation in ’93–you’ve got a bit of cowboy in ya. Maybe you’ve watched Western movies, or camped in the desert. Perhaps when you sit in your condo or at the local Starbucks in the nearby strip mall, you find yourself longing for those wide-open spaces.

And that’s where Cowboy Nation comes in: Tony Kinman on bass and guitar, brother Chip on guitar and harmonica, and Jamie Spidle on drums. Don’t mistake C.N. for some achey-breaky line-dance country shite–after forming a punk band (the Dils), a cowboy-rock band turned metal (Rank and File), and later an industrial noise machine (Blackbird), the Kinman brothers understand the power of music. What they’ve come up with is a haunting soundtrack to life in the Old West with emotion so raw even Y2Kers can relate. On A Journey Out Of Time, Cowboy Nation’s second LP, Chip’s high harmonies entwine with the low, low basso profundo of his brother Tony, all set to spare Western instrumentation on classic cowboy tunes like “Back In The Saddle” and the tear-jerkin’ classic, “Shenandoah”: “For her, I crossed the rolling waters/ Away, I’m bound away/ Across the wi-ide Missouri.” Pronouncing “Missouri” as “misery” seems wickedly intentional.

Covering classics is one rope trick, but Cowboy Nation’s most amazing feat is the band’s self-penned tunes, most of which sound eerily authentic. “Two Miles To Town” is an uptempo barn-burner about celebrating at the end of the cattle trail, and the dreamy “Cowboys’ Vision” contemplates the forces that drove young men to the West: “Open prairies/ I ride through them/ Canyons traced by/ Bony rivers/ All I wanted/ Is to die on the trail.”

Our star-spangled DNA recognizes that this is our music–just like mariachi to the Mexicans, and polka to the Poles–giving us goose flesh and piss chills at the sound of words like “dogies,” “the range,” “hat and pistol,” even nonsense syllables like “whoopi ti-yi-yo.”

So if you’re brave enough to admit there’s room in your hip-hop/tuntablism lives for some gen-u-wine roots music, pick up A Journey Out Of Time. Then when it’s grown on you, go pick up Cowboy Nation’s first LP, Cowboy Nation. Because of the band’s history, doors are still open for them to play indie venues and punk clubs, as well as Western palaces like the Gene Autry Museum. See when they’re coming to your town at cowboynation.com.–Sharon Harrison