Gene Butler Band





Gene Butler is of indeterminate age, though his leather voice would seem to be indicative of a 70-pack year history of cigarette smoking.  He certainly does not fit into the Nashville “pretty boy” box – he is based, at first blush improbably, out of Los Angeles – so his debut CD, CONCRETE COUNTRY, must stand or fall upon its own merits, rather than any prepackaged glitz or glamour.  Stand it does and it stands tall.

CONCRETE COUNTRY could have been called, “All Killer, No Filler” if that title had not already been taken.  It is still an appropriate description however, given that it consists of ten tracks that seem to be over all too quickly.  Ironically enough, it is one of the longer songs, “This House That We Live In”, that is first among equals, one of those metaphoric country songs about love and loss that never seems to grow old.  It’s difficult to pick a favorite on CONCRETE COUNTRY, however, “God’s Fallen Star,” about a love object who is, perhaps, not the ideal mate, is perfect.  Anyone who has ever loved beneath his station will play this song over and over and over.  Of course, if one does that, they’ll miss out on the rest of this fine CD, which slips effortlessly from a zydeco two-step (the irresistible “Don’t Say Don’t) to a soulful “Rip Cord” (I keep hearing Otis Redding singing along in the background).  The bare-bones arrangement and production in play throughout CONCRETE COUNTRY ideally match the material.  Butler could make the transition from the stage to your living room without missing a beat.  Or maybe this is more appropriate description:  If you heard the Gene Butler Band playing on the sidewalk, what he does would stop you like you smacked into a windshield and leave you standing there listening to him for hours.  It's the unassuming competence of a good, a great, journeyman who unexpectedly, yet regularly, tosses in flashes of brilliance.

CONCRETE COUNTRY is one of those CDs that will quietly but quickly make it to the top of your personal stack of heavy rotation CDs.  Any fan of unspoiled, unpolished county music should put this one on their "must have" list.




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Sometimes , on very rare occasions, a Country album is so good it just makes you want to jump up and yell “YES!” as you punch the air.  “Concrete Country” by the Gene Butler Band is one of those very rare CD’s.

It’s crisply mixed so you can hear every instrument; it’s lyrically strong and deep without being inaccessible.  It’s a joy to listen to (YES!).

Butler’s smokey, croaky vocals make it sound like he needs to clear his throat.  Far from spoiling the songs, it adds depth, reality, and true emotion.

Brantley Kearns’ fiddle playing here is way above top grade; sometimes it’s a buzz saw running fast behind the vocals; other times it’s a gentle violin adding atmosphere.  Every time, the tone is just right for the track.

In the track “This House We Live In,” Butler’s voice comes into its own.  His lyrics take the imagery of a broken home to a deeper level than most Country songs.  If anyone reading this has gone through a breakup of a long term relationship, this song will not just strike a chord, it will hit every one of them with a resounding familiarity.  BRILLIANT.

 When Butler cries “Etoile” at the start of “Don’t Say Don’t,” you suspect something special.  When the fiddle and the Cajun rhythm cut in, you know you’re right.  It’s a wonderful evocation of Cajun music with excellent harmonies and superb musicianship.  Butler’s vocals are superb.

 It’s not often that a song actually evokes the true atmosphere of its subject, but everything on the track “In This Lonesome City” works to that end….and succeeds.  When you hear this ballad, your mind will paint its own picture.  To me, it’s wet, it’s rainy, and there’s not a soul around as the Greyhound bus pulls in late.  The fiddle, the harmonies are added at just the right points.  This is already a country classic.

 Because the arrangements and mixes are tidy, clean and uncluttered you just know that the band could get up on stage and reproduce exactly the same sound because there’s little apparent technical trickery to make the thing work.

 “Concret Country” is a must buy for any true fan of Country Music!

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(C)   - Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck


American country / roots music is something I’ve only recently discovered, but I have to tell everyone since I have, I cannot get enough of Gene Butler’s CD “Concrete Country.”
I really like what I hear – it’s got that Texas sound, that Texas twang and I can totally hear this bein played in a jukebox in a bar in Lubbock or anywhere else in the state for that matter! Great musicianship from everyone in the band plus Lucinda Williams sings background on one of the tracks, “God’s Fallen Star.”
They have some of their new music from the CD on myspace at if you’d like to check out some great new country tunes!

In March of 2012, THE GENE BUTLER BAND released their new CD, 'THAT LIGHT IS ALWAYS ON'.

The album is receiving a lot of attention and airplay on radio stations across the United States as well as in Italy, France, Belgium, Australia and New Zealand.

With over a hundred original songs to his name Gene Butler has a unique approach to his music. His sound is a hardcore, urban-American blend with elements of Blues, Rock & Roll, and Soul in the mix. His lyrics speak of love (lost, found and new) and the grind of the working man’s life. They are songs born of life experiences and tell slice-of-life stories everyone can relate to. Add into the mix Gene’s honest, gritty vocals and the Band’s tight, consummate backup and you have the distinctive Americana sound of THE GENE BUTLER BAND.

Gene Butler Band - Concrete Country

The Gene Butler Band, which works out of Los Angeles, features a harder strain of country. Butler, who writes and sings all of the songs, grew up in Georgia but moved to Seattle in his mid-teens. The sound he creates is a synthesis of Southern and West Coast country, perhaps informed by folk music (the opening cut, "Momma, Wish I'd Listened to You," is all quotes and paraphrases from traditional songs). Butler possesses a craggy, soulful voice that sounds like his face looks: pure blue-collar. Not much soft is to be found in Concrete Country (a title with at least two levels of meaning), and it matters not that the man responsible, no hillbilly off-stage, is an actor and independent-film director.

Among the musicians are ubiquitous alt-country hipsters Lucinda Williams and Gurf Morlix, but Butler's approach is hardly alternative, or at least it wouldn't be if today's music industry weren't so relentlessly antagonistic to intelligence, taste and emotional authenticity. Where pop would be inserted into a more mainstream (i.e., modern Nashville) act's muse (surely too highfalutin a word), Butler turns to rockabilly; note, for example, the modified Bo Diddley beat in "Love's the Real Thing," which deserves less saccharine lyrics. Still, on the whole the only sweet to be heard in this sound is bittersweet. And the lovely, chilly "In This Lonesome City" is a memorable addition to the small and eminently worthy sub-genre of country-noir.

"Concrete Country" by the Gene Butler Band

  "Concrete Country" is an excellent Americana/country CD by the Gene Butler Band. The CD is filled with excellent visual songwriting, excellent musicianship, and excellent recording quality. Gene's raspy voice adds a very distinctive, real sound to the music. The songwriting effectively combines thoughtful lyrics with memorable melodies. The band is tight and talented. We especially enjoy the up-tempo songs on the CD. "You Go On Anyway" and "Ride that Train" have an excellent upbeat rhythmic pattern, harmonica fills, fiddle solo, and 2-part harmonies in the memorable chorus. "Love's the Real Thing" is one of our favorite tracks, with its excellent up-tempo rhythmic pattern and harmonica fills. If you enjoy Americana/country music, you will enjoy this CD. Pick up a copy today!
 - Review by RadioIndy staff
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