New Heathens

"Kansas Romeo" Best of Country Ballot For Nashville Scene's Annual Roundup '06

The special section is on this week.

The New Heathens are very influenced by The Drive-By Truckers, especially the way Patterson Hood's dry little cigarette voice sometimes squeezes as many words as possible into a bar line, then keeps on giving. But if I were assembling my own personal Deluxe Edition of Southern Rock Opera, I'd slip "Kansas Romeo" in with the best tracks from actual Truckers albums. Drawing on journalistic sources, it carefully details the story of a kid from a low-income family, pegged as borderline, in ethnic "mix" and I.Q., who ended up in a prairie group home, fell in love, but "stopped as soon as he was asked." Nevertheless, he'slast seen in a prison cell, praying for forgiveness. As the situation is described here, it seems likely that he would have been charged with statutory rape, at most, if he hadn't loved "another Romeo, instead of a Juliet." How many times has this happened? Only once, in any song I've ever heard or heard of. It's not much shelter, but I hope the guy in the song hears it someday, sounding like one thing more than his own lonely voice.

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