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Brent Amaker and the Rodeo

Friday, march 16, Neurolux


At a time when country music radio stations have songs by American Idol--and Grammy Award--winner Carrie Underwood in heavy rotation, Seattle-based band Brent Amaker and the Rodeo offers up a breath of fresh, real country air.

The band is Brent Amaker on vocals and guitar, Tim Harmon and Louis O'Callaghan on guitar, Sugar McGuinn on bass and Curtis Andreen on drums. Dressed in black--including cowboy hats--and made a shade darker by Amaker's deep, raspy voice, the similarities to Johnny Cash are unavoidable. And it's not a mistake. It's a well-thought-out plan, though they've changed in some ways to better suit getting out on the road and touring. Initially, they were a bad-ass biker band, but the impracticality of riding motorcyles to each show won out over the total coolness of riding motorcycles to each show. And though they've eschewed two-wheel transportation, they've kept their signature sound: simple songs, simple instrumentation, simply sung. Their self-titled debut CD is pure old-school country, and Amaker makes no apologies for his feelings about fakers. On "Sissy New Age Cowboy," he sings, The highlights in your hair are a dead giveaway/You're not singing country music.

On their myspace site (, Amaker is quoted as saying, "I am so tired of seeing bands who don't know what they are." Amaker and the Rodeo know just who they are, and a note or two into the first song, you'll have a pretty damn good idea, too.

--Amy Atkins

Friday, March 16, 9 p.m., $3, Neurolux, 111 N. 11th St., 208-343-0886,