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Monday, Dec. 5, 2011

Honky Tonkitis

Deep End of the Bottle

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The second album by the Milwaukee band Honky Tonkitis continues to mix equal parts snark and twang into something resembling a Bizarro World set at the Grand Ole Opry. Singer John Steffes' twisted sense of humor about matters of inebriation and fornication fits to the pedal-steel template of Webb Pierce and Ray Price serenades of heartbreak and drunkenness. However, Honky Tonkitis isn't all cheek at the expense of substance. It's not too far of a stretch to imagine big-time traditionalists in today's commercial country like Alan Jackson and George Strait covering "If It's Paradise." On the other hand, tunes such as "Which Are You First: Drunk or Stupid" and "Jukebox, You Suck" seem destined to remain in the band's own domain—but that's all the more reason to appreciate their unique take on how to make country alt.