At the heart of Sundowner is a back of the hand dismissal of the fussy genre lines between hard rock and hard country, all done with a sly nod to the bartender that the next round’s on him. The broad mix of source material shows that, in the right hands, C&W cats like Dave Dudley (the snarling “Cowboy Boots”) and Johnny Cash (“What Do I Care”) can obviously nestle up comfortably next to punk rock snots like the Dwarves (“Everybody’s Girl”), or that Rig Rock legend Del Reeves (“Girl On the Billboard”) and Touch & Go Records cult faves the Lee Harvey Oswald Band (“Jesus Never Lived On Mars”) share a surprising commonality.
Eddie takes‘em all wherever they come from, strips ‘em down and builds ‘em back up around meat-and-potatoes arrangements, some devil-horn throwing elan and a warmly ragged voice befitting his Southwestern roots. And who better to take on Dean Martin’s self-styled lounge lizard paean “Party Dolls and Wine”? No one we can think of. Sundowner also has songs by a couple of friends that Eddie has recorded with over the years: Willie Nelson (the after hours croon “Always On My Mind”) and Steve Earle (the chiming “If You Fall in Love”), ‘cuz, as he says, it was “fun to put a little ‘Spaghetti’ on them.”
On Sundowner’s originals, Eddie, almost bashfully, lets some pop smarts shine through, without sacrificing any of the muscle. Check the Velcro-in-your-head harmonies on the title track or the dusty cantina vibe of “Marie.” The opening track, “Never Thought I Would,” positively soars with big hooks, the rush of the big sky and the open road. It’s gonna be hard to keep the speed steady when you’re pounding along to the song with your boot on the accelerator.