Subtropical Spin

Truckstop Coffee is a good enough live band — it's the reason the Palm Beach County quartet gets booked to play all those street parties in West Palm. But even so, TSC through a live PA system isn't the same as TSC recorded. One Damn Thing to Redeem is easily the band's greatest accomplishment to date, and it exemplifies all that's right with studio recording: Every piano, fiddle, mandolin, and harmonica the band has added fits seamlessly into the mix, thanks to masterful knob-twiddling by Christopher Moll. And the songs themselves? There isn't a throwaway track on this disc. Guitarist, vocalist, and principal songwriter Pete Stein tears things up while carving out a sweet melody or two, starting with album opener "Way Down South," a scorching, Southern-rock-styled barnburner that wastes no time with polite introductions. Things slow down for a bit with the Replacements-like "Pretty Lil Smile" and the slide guitar-driven country of "Madison County." From there, it's an amalgam of uptempo romps and wispy ballads, ending with the soothing, introspective "Whiskey Shivers." Call it alt-country, Americana, roots-rock — whatever. It's good music, period, whether you're on the road to El Paso or on the subway to Manhattan. And if you're one of the first 100 to show up at Saturday's CD-release party, the album's free.

Truckstop Coffee joins Summer Blanket and Holidaysburg on Saturday, December 16, at Respectable Street, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. The show starts at 8 p.m. Admission costs $8. Call 561-832-9999, or visit

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