No, there's no truth to the rumor that the next Swinging Steaks album is going to be called We're Not a Country Band, Dammit. But that's been the band's reaction ever since they were first recognized as one of Boston's finest country outfits, and it's something they've said often -- though not quite in those words -- while promoting their recent release, Shiner. Country music is definitely there in the Steaks' mix, along with a few other good things -- roots rock, acoustic guitars, mid-period Stones, and the songwriting know-how that the band members have gained in their combined years of club gigs. Nineteen-ninety-five probably wasn't the easiest year for the Swinging Steaks, who are back on their own Thrust label (which released the new album as well as a reissue of Suicide at the Wishing Well, the 1992 disc that first put them on the map) after a parting with Capricorn. And while the band now keeps a lower profile than it did a year ago, they were never the kind of outfit that relied on trends to survive.
-- Brett Milano