Wink Keziah – Hard Times

January 01, 1970

(Great South)


Until recently, Wink Keziah had been a mainstay of the
Tarheel roots scene for a quarter-century, based out of Charlotte and turning up the volume and
churning out the hard twang like nobody’s business. He last graced the record
store bins with 2008’s Mark Stuart-produced Working
Songs for the Drinking Class
, a rollin’ raveup that prompted yours truly to
enthuse, “Picture the Drive-By Truckers, the V-Roys and the Backsliders all
piling into an RV and moving to Bakersfield and you just about got it.”


For his new one, Keziah literally packed up for Bakersfield (or thereabouts…) to record with Stuart again,
this time with some top musicians whose collective resume lists the bands of
Dwight Yoakam, Steve Earle, Waylon Jennings and Lucinda Williams (among those
players: guitarist Doug Pettibone, pedal steel legend J.D. Maness and singers
Marcy Levy, Ted Russell Kamp and Mike Stinson). This was en route to a
permanent relocation by Keziah to Austin, and there’s an unmistakable Lone Star
vibe on display here alongside the Cali stylings, from the pedal steel-powered
“Sweet Jesus” (a duet with Stuart) and the self-explanatory “Honky Tonk
Rendezvous” (guaranteed to tweak your inner white trash) to the Tom Pettyish
anthemism of “Lost Highway” and the stately, oughta-be-a-Nashville-hit “San


Throughout, Keziah remains an insightful chronicler of life,
love, and the vicissitudes of both, particularly on standout songs like the
autobiographical “Runnin’ Away From My Life” (“I seen lots of people chasing
foolish dreams… All my life I was told what I should do”), a luminous
meditational ballad for fiddle, mandolin and guitar, and sturdy country-rocker
“Sometimes You Win” (as in “…sometimes you lose”). Topics that are mainstays of
country, folk and honky-tonk, certainly, and Keziah – knowing his backstory;
read about him at his website – is eminently qualified to weigh in.


Hard times… lord, ain’t we got some these days. Wink
Keziah’s here to help shoulder our load, though.


Standout Tracks: “Lost
Highway,” “Runnin’ Away From My Life,” “San


Wink Keziah kicks off
a fall tour next week with Mark Stuart & the Bastard Sons (whose latest
album is reviewed here). Selected dates will feature a full band, while others
will be an acoustic duo featuring Keziah and Lars Albrecht. Go to for tour itinerary and



Leave a Reply