Tin Roof Union offers up a strong shot of Americana, goes on hiatus

Back in October a new CD from local acoustic country band Tin Roof Union landed on my desk. The six song EP titled "The 6 Pack" sports strong tunes, sharp, stripped-down playing and a big dose of backwoods attitude.

Tales of hard partying, family ties and chugging trains were juiced with pumping upright bass, twang-heavy singing and dashes of banjo and harmonica.

It was a promising start for this Yorktown-based band which featured Tim Brown, Randy Bagoly, Josh Adkisson and Robb Van de Riet.

Too bad I didn't write about the disc when it hit the street. Now, it seems the band may be no more.

"For the record, we'll call it a hiatus," said Van de Riet, the band's bassist. "We're supposed to get back together in February, but we'll see."

In the mean time, Van de Riet and banjo man Bagoly continue to play in another group, the Two Dollar Bill Band.

And of course, "The 6 Pack" remains as a testament to Tin Roof Union's gritty sound and strong songwriting.

Lead singer and guitarist Tim Brown wrote five of the six tunes on the disc. They reveal a musician with a knack for various authentic American sounds and a sure hand with a melody. On tunes "Sweet Tennessee" and "This Old Memory" the band barrels along in a style that reminds me of Old Crow Medicine Show or Steve Earle in bluegrass mode.

Elsewhere, Van de Riet's tune "Virginia Bound" is a full-throttle Southern stomper, easily the most raw moment on the disc.

The song that stands out most of all is "Homegrown," a nugget packed with enough warmth and pop hooks it could work on commercial country radio. That's not to say it flogs a formula. Instead, it manages to sound both polished and heartfelt in the same way as the best songs of Nashville pro Jim Lauderdale.

"Homegrown" pointed to a future that now seems in doubt, though. Regardless of whether Tin Roof Union gets reconstructed next year, the musicians on this short, sweet recording should feel proud.

"I would love the record to get out there and get some attention," Van de Riet said. "I think there are some good songs on the record."

He speaks the truth.

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