The Archives : The Damnation TX's "Half Mad Moon" (1998)

Right around the same time that the Dixie Chicks took the country and pop world by storm with their tedious ballads, the Damnations TX released their debut record, Half Mad Moon, on Warner imprint, Sire (ya know, home to The Replacements, Ramones and early Wilco). Similar in some respects, there was one big difference: The former were pretty terrible and the latter were not. Half Mad Moon was a fantastic debut from a four piece, fronted by sisters Amy Boone and Deborah Kelly with The Gourds' Keith Langford on the kit and Rob Bernard (brother of The Gourds' Claude Bernard) on various instruments, the harmonies were beautiful and balanced, while the music blended traditional country with pretty darn straightforward rock n' roll.

The Damnations TX came on the scene at the same time that the country/rock thing of the 90s was at its apex. Wilco, Son Volt, The Old 97's and Steve Earle were household names and the Damnations TX were one of those opening acts on the cusp that never received their due. I caught them once at SXSW (in the park, I believe) and they put on a sweet and charging set. Unfortunately, upon the release of this gem, Sire was stumbling through typical label restructuring and the Damnations were lost in the corporate nude mud wrestling. They went on to release one more record in 2002 via some long forgotten indie and that was it. No official breakup was ever announced, but a google search of the band turns up very little. Whether their decision to move on was their own or the product of an industry that moved way beyond committing to quality acts, they left us with a near masterpiece in Half Mad Moon.

I drive all night, til these wheels get bloody. Anything I could do, just to catch you alive