Certain bars have an ambiance about them. You often see these bars in movies – the air is smoky, the women are cheap but not easy and the whiskey is strong. The kind of bar where weathered men sit around and talk about their lives while a local band in the background provides the mood and the rock.

Not many of these bars exist anymore but, if they did, StillNative would be right at home providing the soundtrack.

From the first few licks of the first song (“Shake Your Boots”) on their record StillNative, you are taken back to this old dive and the kind of atmosphere that you just don’t find much anymore – in bars or in music.

The sound evokes the great ZZ Top with their mixture of powerful licks and riffs, catchy melodies and an insatiable sense of fun. There’s seven people in the bar and only three are paying attention but it doesn’t matter because StillNative are enjoying themselves. They’re rocking out because it’s what they love to do.

For a more modern audience, a better comparison might be The Black Keys but without the pretentiousness. The sound is full and the record flows very well to the point that it’s hard to pick a standout track (although I’m partial to “Private Eye” and “Born To Lose”). The fact that one of the songs is a cover of “Suzie Q”, yet it still flows as if it were an original is testament to this fact.

StillNative are a throwback to the old days of rock and roll and stand out in today’s musical atmosphere because this brand of rock isn’t in fashion. The ZZ Top’s of the world are no longer what’s hip, bars are no longer smoky and the whiskey doesn’t flow quite as freely.

For those of us that miss that sound, it’s easy to say “they don’t make’em like that anymore” – fortunately StillNative proves that they still do.

And they prove it by releasing a record that kicks a lot of ass.

StillNative play at Mercury Lounge in Ottawa on October 11.


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