Buried Treasure: Meet Red Meat


[Today: Taking out the trash in Nashville…]

Founded in a garage in San Francisco’s Mission District in 1993, Red Meat sound like nothing else coming out of either a garage or the Mission. They specialize in serious country music with a razor sharp lyrical edge that borders on satire and skewers the pickup truck/gun rack/cowboy hat stereotypes that crowd the genre. The group features five “expatriate Midwesterners” who were heavily influenced by honky tonk music, the Bakersfield Sound and 60’s and 70’s rock. “Back when we started, nobody was playing this kind of music at all”, explains band member Smelley Kelley. “We’d go into a bar, play our set, and win over these rockers and punk kids. Now it’s become a lot more normal to see a country band in a Bay Area bar.”

It’s easy to file Red Meat under Country, but their 1997 debut Meet Red Meat is entertaining and often laugh-out-loud funny, which isn’t exactly a hallmark of country music. Lead songwriter Scott Young turns his lacerating wit loose on a trailer full of country cliches, creating a cowboy in search of a girl named Lolita to match the tattoo on his arm, an ode to an oscillating three speed fan, and a 90-second kick in the funny bone about bombing in Nashville with lyrics like this:

I thought I’d make a big splash, be a big smash in Nashville
But I needed some cash now I’m slingin’ some hash
At the end of my shift I’ll take out the trash in Nashville

No group with song titles like ‘Girl With The Biggest Hair’ and ‘Inner Redneck’ is going to take itself too seriously, but Red Meat is no novelty act – they’ve got enough honky tonk chops that they’ve backed country legends Buck Owens and Wanda Jackson. And their oft-hilarious songs are balanced with some straightforward country offerings (one of these, ‘Texas Texas’ went Top 5 in France). Fittingly for a hardcore country band from the urban heart of San Francisco, Red Meat makes music that is smart, funny, interesting and absolutely, totally unique…

Listen: Nashville Fantasy

Listen: 12 Inch 3 Speed Oscillating Fan

Listen: Inner Redneck

Listen: Texas Texas

Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: