Drag the River is one of those bands you either love or hate at this point; the people who love them, love them because of the music – or the lyrics – or whatever it is that makes the tunes they produce appeal to their ears. The people who don’t love them hate them because they’re not ALL or one of the old punk bands the members of the band used to be in. But whatever…that’s there prerogative I suppose. I happen to fall on the love side of the equation and that’s why we’re here today.
Jon Snodgrass has one of the most distinct voices of the alt-country/country rock/punk country/whatever you want to call it movement. Personally, I put the distinction of his voice up there with Ben Nichols. Meaning that if you hear a song and he’s singing it you KNOW it’s a Drag The River or Jon Snodgrass solo song, just like you KNOW a song is a Lucero or Ben Nichols solo song.
This particular album, released by Paper+Plastik, features a slew of folks you’ve heard of (the ‘Friends’ part of the title obviously) including Chris Wollard of Hot Water Music fame, and musically is pretty straight ahead stuff. Nothing ground breaking or earth shattering but it is still a very solid release. If you’re into that kind of thing (the punk country, alt-country, whatever you want to call it) I highly recommend you check it out. Plus, it can be had for a song at only $5. The release itself is very straight and simple, but still very well done. No overly ornate or over the top artwork or packaging, but still a very nice looking release. The actual vinyl itself caught me off guard when I took it out of the sleeve the first time; very heavy duty stuff. Like, I’d swear this was a 180 gram release. I don’t recall having any other 7 inches in my collection that are nearly as sturdy as this particular release. So good on you, Paper+Plastik, for getting this pressed on such sturdy vinyl.
Finally, for those of you that are interested, there were 523 of these pressed on this one. 239 on clear, 189 on white and 95 on white/red. If you want to order it head over to the Paper+Plastik webstore and snag one, but you better hurry – they’re down to just the clear ones as of this posting.