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Bill Kirchen Link:

Bill Kirchen

Bill Kirchen
Tied to the Wheel

2001, Hightone Records

Bill Kirchen deserves entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame simply for being the guy who created the opening guitar lick to “Hot Rod Lincoln” during his years with Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen. He hasn’t lost his touch.

Tied to the Wheel, his latest solo release, is really an ode to the almost dying art of the truck driving song. It begins with the honky-tonk “Truck Stop At the End of the World” (co-written with Cody) and sets the tone for the album. “Sorry trucker but you can’t go back/ they just hit Chicago with a sneak attack/ Detroit and Frisco are nothing but great big holes/ I don’t know about you, but I’m gonna make it/ I got my rig wound up and I’m gonna take it to the truck stop at the end of the world.”

Other 18-wheeled tunes include “Roll Truck Roll,” “Hillbilly Truck Drivin’ Man,” the title tune, along with hardcore cry-in-your-beer ballads like “Dim Lights, Thick Smoke” and the Blackie Farrell-penned “One More Hour of Blues” and “Tryin’ to Turn Her Memory Off.”

There are a couple of ballads tossed in, along with a dead-on cover of Bob Dylan’s “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues,” but for the most part Tied to the Wheel is a showcase for Kirchen’s “dieselbilly” Telecaster work. Required listening for anyone planning a road trip.—Michael Gaither

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