The funny thing, though, is how fresh and innovative this duo really is. In addition to writing and singing, the Dallas-born Parker plays the rarely heard tenor guitar, a four-stringed instrument whose high overtones splendidly compliment her deep voice. The resourceful Parker also took her raggedy suitcase—one found in a secondhand store near Austin—rigged up a dried-out gourd with some bailing wire, and a kick-drum was born. Her guitar-wielding partner, Harvey, is a Merle Travis protégé who lays down the saddest, spookiest, twangiest licks, like some kind of mythical Kelly Joe Phelps-Hank Williams hybrid.
What you'll hear on last year's self-titled debut is something coined by the Spurs as "honky-tonk garage," a cool collection of blues, country, hillbilly, folk—just about any mix of authentic American roots music you can imagine. While the band's music is pure—no overdubs or studio trickery, thank you very much—it's the songs' universal truths that carry their emotional weight. First-rate, gritty originals including "Jack & Coke" and the soulful "Lovesick" offer timeless takes on hope, heartache and resiliency.
The Lonesome Spurs are simply too creative—not to mention hard to classify—for both Nashville and mainstream radio. But for the rest of us, they're a vintage slice of heaven.
Western Round-Up, featuring the Lonesome Spurs, Brian Jay & the Last Call Boys, Liz Ireland, and the Honkys, at the Doll Hut, 107 S. Adams St., Anaheim, (714) 533-1286; www.dollhut.com. Sat., 8 p.m. Call for cover. 21+.