In their continued efforts to tout the so-called "revival" of rock 'n' roll, mainstream media rags focus only on bands that rip off either the Rolling Stones or the Velvet Underground. Apparently, nothing earlier than the 1960s is worth reviving. Sure, it's good that kids brought up on metal are getting a much-needed history lesson. But why always overlook the pioneers of the 1950s? Well, the 18 Wheelers are here to remind us what rock was like before art and heroin got involved -- when blue suede shoes were cool and country musicians didn't pen songs about buying American flags at Wal-Mart. The band's 17-song CD, Songs from the Road, is proof that these guys know their roots. Most of the songs are covers, like Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried," Carl Perkins' "Honey Don't," Eddie Cochran's "Twenty Flight Rock," and Elvis Presley's "Little Sister." The few originals tread along the same lines, such as the upbeat, Stray Cats-like rockabilly of "Cheap Thrills," a song about the great rock 'n' roll pastime of pill-popping. It's a bit redundant to say that no new ground is broken here. But that's the nature of roots rock -- if you don't dig it, you don't get it. Now go listen to the Strokes and practice looking jaded. -- Jason Budjinski
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