Two Foot Stomp
Artist: The Von Ehrics
Distributed by: Lucky Buck Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Some time ago, I was introduced to The Von Ehrics, a band whose name is loosely based on the wrestling family of my youth. Their album, Loaded, was my first introduction to the union of country, gospel, punk and rock genres. The result was an adrenaline-pumping album with a traditional country air. Their most recent album, their fourth to date, is called Two Foot Stomp.
The Von Ehrics first hit the scene in 2000, formed by Robert Jason Vandygriff and Jeffery Wayne Mosley with the intent to combine the influences of music they were raised on - country and gospel - with the music of their rebellious teenage years - punk and metal. Drummer Gabe Aguilar joined the band in 2005. In 2009, Robert Jason Vandygriff left the band. Since then, The Von Ehrics have added two new members, Paul ďSantiĒ Vaden on bass and Clayton Mills as lead guitarist. Unlike previous recordings, The Von Ehrics decided to take their time in making Two Foot Stomp. That dedication to their work has definitely paid off.
The storytelling quality of The Von Ehrics music continues with the very first track of Two Foot Stomp. Last of the Working Slobs talks about the life of a Vietnam veteran who took a bullet for his country, came home and raised a family, only to find himself laid off from his last four jobs and drowning his sorrows at a local bar. The song has a poignant message as our soldiers come back from the current war to discover that history is repeating itself and the world they live in is not exactly kind to those who defended their country. The music is rocking and the lyrics are catchy. Despite the depressing plight the former soldier finds himself in, he refuses to give up, thus leaving the song with an upbeat message after all.
The rest of the album is filled with rocking good tracks that you canít help but sing along with. One of my favorites is Smokewagon, which tells the tale of the bandís latest set of wheels after their old van kicked the bucket while on tour. Another favorite, Lord, I Pray, is deeply steeped in the bandís gospel roots and will have you up, clapping, stomping your feet and singing along. I loved Goodbye/The Ride, which stars off as a sad song about a guy who just lost his girl and then turns into a hard-rocking vow to pick up and move on. But my favorite song on this album is a rousing tribute to the bandís home state, Texas (When I Die) featuring some really fun lyrics: ďWhen I die, I may not go to heaven / I donít know if they let cowboys in / But if they donít, just let me go to Texas / Texas is as close as Iíve been.Ē Itís a really fun old song with catchy lyrics that was a hit single for Tanya Tucker in the late 1970s. You can tell that the band had a great deal of fun recording this track with their own special flare.
Overall, I would say that Two Foot Stomp is a terrific follow-up to Loaded. This bandís music just keeps getting better and better. I loved the blend of country and rock - that blend of storytelling with adrenaline-pumping music. Two Foot Stomp represents some of The Von Ehrics best work to date. This is a band whose musical and lyrical prowess continues to grow and I canít wait to hear more from them. One word to the wise, however - donít listen to this album while driving. The music is so adrenaline-pumping, youíre apt to hammer down on that accelerator and get yourself into some trouble.