The Boxmasters

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There’s a lot of warriors out on the road

Stories have been told and untold

Partly courage partly fear and doubt

I’ve been there; I know what I’m talkin’ about.

“Every King Wears A Crown”

By W.R. “Bud” Thornton and J.D. Andrew


Modbillly is the powerful, masterful sound of The Boxmasters doing what they do best and daring to go even deeper with their third release (Sawmill/Vanguard).

Having hit the road hard in 2008 following the release of their acclaimed debut effort The Boxmasters, these musical warriors are now back to tell more stories as only they can -- some of their own previously untold stories, as well as some more familiar tales that they have somehow made all their own. The impressive result is Modbilly -- a rousing musical double dose that’s shot full of fears and doubt, yet ultimately makes a courageous, heartfelt and life-affirming statement from a group of guys who’ve been there and done that at least a few times and definitely know what they’re talking about.

“This time, I think everyone can hear that The Boxmasters are for real,” says the group’s W. R. “Bud” Thornton. "We mean what we say and we say what we mean, and more than ever, we feel really privileged to put this music out there and share it with people.”

Modbilly represents considerably more than simply the Second Coming of The Boxmasters. Of course, technically speaking, Modbilly is actually the Third Coming of The Boxmasters since this wildly productive, wildly talented and just plain wild group’s second album was in fact their late 2008 seasonal offering Christmas Cheer, a singular celebration of the good, the bad and the ugly spirit of the Yuletide.

And as it turns out, the third time is the charm here since Modbilly reflects another great leap forward for The Boxmasters – clearly, there is even more blood on these particular tracks. The core band -- Thornton on drums, lead and harmony vocals, J.D. Andrew on bass and guitar and harmony vocals and Mike Butler on guitar, Dobro and lap steel -- makes good on the group’s original intention to dare to find out -- as Thornton has put it -- “what would happen if you put together Mott the Hopple and the Louvin Brothers?”

As on The Boxmasters, Modbilly offers two sides of one compelling, intensely felt story. One side offers twelve Boxmasters self-penned songs that feel a bit closer in spirit to the best moments of the acclaimed solo albums by Thornton. The originals on Modbilly include the most deeply felt and moving songs to ever grace a Boxmasters release, including such highlights as “Hollow Walls,” “Going Home,” “I Don’t Wanna Know” and the poignant “I Never Let You Cry.” Equally powerful is “Turn It Over,” a haunting song written by Thornton and Brad Davis about a love letter that may come too late in a troubled relationship. As Thornton sings, “You know the desk in the bedroom/The one with all the scars/Look in the top left drawer you’ll find/What’s left of my heart.”

Yet the wit and hard-earned wisdom one has come to expect from The Boxmasters is present and accounted for as demonstrated on the wonderfully titled “That’s Why Tammy Has My Car,” that feels very much of a piece with the … Read More


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