If they gave out awards for perseverance, Nashville's BR549 would be the hands-down champion. From the early days as the house band at Robert's Western Wear on Lower Broadway to the group's current incarnation as a tight four-piece, the 549ers have never given up. On Dog Days, original members Chuck Mead, Don Herron and Shaw Wilson are joined by bassist Mark Miller, known to local audiences from his stint in the Ex-Husbands. Miller fits right in, and the band delivers another fine package of neoclassic country.
Expanding its repertoire beyond country, the band delves into the blues on "Lower Broad St. Blues," Western swing with Miller's lead vocal on "You Are the Queen," and even a gospel-tinged "The Devil & Me," which features harmony by the Jordanaires. Frontman Mead co-wrote the majority of the songs, but the album also features covers of the immortal Dave Edmunds ("A-1 on the Jukebox") and Tim Carroll's ironic "After the Hurricane." But multi-instrumentalist Herron keeps the country thing right up front with his always amazing fiddle, mandolin and steel guitar work.
BR549 has worked hard to shed the "novelty act" status and establish itself as a legitimate and viable band. While its studio albums inevitably fall a little short of capturing its onstage intensity, Dog Days proves the boys have grown up and can deliver the goods in spades.