Cheap Motel, The Wailin' Elroys
(Independent, 2003)

The Wailin' Elroys are a juke joint hillbilly & rockabilly trio playing out of Athens, Ohio (USA). Formed in 2002, the Elroys consist of Bram Riddlebarger on vocals and flat top guitar, Justin Rayner on doghouse bass fiddle, and "Preacher" Zeb Dewar on take-off lead guitar. The Elroys are often joined on stage by lap steel player extraordinaire Rockne Riddlebarger. These guys kick it old school, like they just stepped out of Sun studios, fresh from a session with Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash.

The Wailin' Elroys' self-produced debut album was recorded live to two track reel-to-reel in Bram's livingroom, engineered by Zeb Dewar. You wouldn't believe it if you heard the CD, these guys did a fabulous job. They got me sittin' up straight right away with the first track on the album, one of the best renditions of Eddie Cochran's "Twenty Flight Rock" I ever heard. Superb greasy slapping bass, whiskey voiced vocals and a heck of a lead guitar solo. And then the Johnny Cash influenced "Calloused Heart", with Luther Perkins style picking, real gone. From the 12 songs on this platter, 10 were penned Bram Riddlebarger himself. The rockabilly tracks are varied with a couple of hillbilly ballads that are pretty well done as well, but it's the rockabilly tracks that I like best, "Studebaker Boogie", "Speed demon", Goodnight No One", "Nothin' But The Blues", "Reverence", "Big Bad Car", "Havana Affair", all equally well written, played and produced. These guys play top notch rockabilly, early fifties style. Who needs a big label and an expensive recording studio?

The Wailin' Elroys are:
Bram Riddlebarger - Vocals, Flat Top Guitar
Justin Rayner - Doghouse Bass Fiddle
Zeb Dewar - Lead Guitar

Contact information:
Wailin' Elroys
26 Hooper St.
Athens, OH 45701

Rhythm Bomb Records
P.O. Box 130152
27466 Cuxhaven

Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2006