Review: 16 Horsepower

16 Horsepower
(Alternative Tentacles)

There will be no argument on this issue: 16 Horsepower were making wonderfully morbid, deeply personal and religious alt-country long before the likes of the Okkervil River or My Morning Jacket. Like a down-south T. Rex, everyone was influenced by them but didn’t know it. Kudos to Alternative Tentacles for reissuing this collection of live tracks from the 1998 tour which features covers of CCR, the Gun Club, and (yes) Joy Division. 16 Horsepower embody the distinct ‘American Gothic’ folk: alcohol-soaked laments to loneliness among clearly religious nuances along the lines of ‘man-in-black’ era Johnny Cash. This is some of the truest and saddest Americana out there.