BY MICHAEL TOLAND
Nashvillian Chris Denney started down the devil’s path early, allegedly stealing pills and cigarettes from his grandma at age 9. So what better way to download his outlaw experiences than with the country ‘n’ blues-inflected rock & roll of Mexican Coke? Channeling the early ‘70s Rolling Stones with his morning after drawl and rootsy sleaze rawk, Denney and his studio cohorts examine the virtues of “Pain Pills” (I’m only doin’ what the devil told me too”), being “Hooked” (on women or something more chemical?) or “Broke” and the alchemy of “Water into Wine.”
Even love becomes a source of that special mix of pleasure and pain that is addiction, via the defiantly rocking “Bye Bye Queenie” and “Mama’s Got the Blues,” seeking forgiveness only on the ballad “Darlin’.” The record doesn’t so much revel in these stories of diving into decadence and debauchery as simply acknowledges them, letting any regrets be found between the lines. It’s left to the listener to despise the self-pitying wife-beater of “Alabama Man,” rather than be told he must. Mexican Coke recounts tales of youthful indiscretions that would curl the average parent’s hair, but it’s all in a day’s work, if your job is sex, drugs and rock & roll.
DOWNLOAD: “Water into Wine,” “Mama’s Got the Blues,” “Hooked”