Tumbledown’s self-titled debut was a solid throwback country album. It made my Top 20 albums of 2009 list. Tumbledown’s follow-up, Empty Bottle, while retains a lot of that classic country sound from the bands debut, Mike’s punk roots aren’t invisible on this record.
As the name suggest, Empty Bottle is a record about drinking. The good, the bad, and the ugly. The record starts with Arrested in El Paso Blues, which starts like something that would’ve been on MxPx’s Secret Weapon. It’s that rockabilly sound that Tumbledown had on the Atlantic City EP. It’s a great kickoff to an album and really unexpected. Bad News continues the more upbeat, rock version of Tumbledown. It’s MxPx with a slide guitar.
And then we get into the country heart of the record. Dead Man Walking, Drink to Forget, Empty Bottle, and Great Big World are all in that old school country music vibe that made Tumbledown’s first record so good.
Meet the Devil might be one of the best songs Mike Herrera has ever written. It has no hint of being a country song whatsoever. It’s just a good old rock and roll drinking song. You’d imagine being in a bar with a bunch of your friends singing this song at the top of your lungs.
No Hung Over has a real nice classic Johnny Cash feel, while Places in This Town would’ve fit in on the bands debut. St Peter is a face paced rockabilly track. The closing track, A Thousand Times More is a country ballad and another nice track.
While the albums theme is about drinking and the word bitch is used on the album, a lot of MxPx’s christian fans might be offended if they pick this record up. While it’s not as strong a country album as Tumbledown’s debut, and maybe even not as solid an album as their debut, with each listen I do enjoy the songs more and more and there are a handful of just really awesome songs. If you have to listen to a country record, Empty Bottle is a good option.