Sweet Inspiration

by Samuel Barker
February 25, 2000

File Under: Alt. Country
rating: B-

1. Fishin' Man

2. Sweet Inspiration

3. Love Rustler

4. Tonkin'

5. Thrill Of The Ride

6. Sugarland

7. Little Ole You

8. Holes In The Road

9. Two Trains

10. Walk 'Em Off

11. Little Everyday

12. Drinking For Two

13. The Last Picture Show

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  • Hollisters
  • The sophomore release of alternative country band, The Hollisters entitled Sweet Inspiration is a fine release. Waiting nearly 3 years after their first release, The Land Of Rhythm and Pleasure to release a follow-up, the Hollisters do a fine job of making up for lost time. You can also hear the fact that they've spent those years playing endless live shows in the precision of the album. A damn fine piece of music if you ask me. A definite msut buy for any rockabilly, alternative country fan.

    Opening with the light hearted "Fishin' Man", the album takes off. Eric Danheim's solo in that track is scorching! You can hear the shear talent he possesses in most of the Hollister tracks. Singer/rhythm guitarist, Mike Barfield, keeps up with his steady rhythm playing, and Johnny Cash-like vocals. Tearing through track after track with the utmost precision. The way he sings "Sweet Inspiration" is very nice. From the heartfelt lyrics to the way he calls for attention by saying "honey!" in the middle of the chorus. A good mixture of fun and music, Sweet Inspiration is a fine album. Most of the album is about having fun and losing love. Barfield and Danheim are two talented song writers that make some great music together.

    There is also a serious side of the album, and a lighter side. In the song "Sugarland", Barfield sings about working in the sugar cane fields and working hard to get out of the lifestyle of an overworked farmhand. Then the song "Walk 'Em Off", Barfield sounds like a junior high coach telling you to walk an injury off. Except here, Barfield is telling you to get up and walk off the blues. And the final track is the token song about murder. Following in the footsteps of Johnny Cash, Barfield and Danheim write a good tell of revenge and murder in "The Last Picture Show".

    Even though I classified them as Alternative Country, the Hollisters are not. Alternative country has been used to classify anyone who didn't go pop country, or make terrible music about silliness. The Hollisters are all about the fundamentals of country, a scorching telecaster lead riff, a steady rhythm track, a bouncing bass line, and tales of lost love, hard country life, and murder. A mural of American society.

    Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at

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