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February 2000 Pick of the Month
Beautiful Lazy
Artist:  The Urban Hillbilly Quartet
URL:  http://theparsonageinc.com/uhq
Time:  12 Tracks/48:23 minutes

I'll go ahead and answer the obvious question. No, The Urban Hillbilly Quartet is not a quartet; there are six members to the band at most times. Rather, the name refers to the band's mix of rock (urban), country (hillbilly), and jazz (quartet). Obviously, this mix makes UHQ fit in quite nicely with the recent string of "No Depression" artists--Son Volt, The Old 97s, and Vigilantes of Love, just to name a few.

Beautiful Lazy, the band's third album, starts off with the riotous, foot-stomping number "Blood on the Door," which introduces not only the musical rawness, but the go-for-the-jugular, honest lyrics that permeate the rest of the album:

    Your heart left yesterday
    Your soul tomorrow
    Your conscience split with the Queen of Sorrows
    Cut your trick deck to the spaded ace
    But this ain't something that games will replace

On the album's other eleven tracks, UHQ covers topics such as death ("One Day"), workaholics ("Rat Race"), murder ("Trespass") and loneliness ("Wallflower"). These topics are fairly typical to the alt-country scene, and while the Quartet doesn't introduce us to very much that's new, they do have a looseness to their playing that makes Beautiful Lazy darn fun to listen to.

Michial Farmer 1/15/2000


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