We will likely never know just how many people were lured to the truck driving profession as a result of the romantic and freewheeling images fueled by truck driving country music during its 1960s & 70s heyday. Fortunately, we can all thank Alan MacEwen of veteran DC band, The Grandsons, for painting a considerably more balanced and forthright portrait of life on the road in his truck driving cautionary tale, “Smoke and Mirrors”:
[Pssst: Click the triangle above to play “Smoke and Mirrors” by The Grandsons.]
This witty and wise track from 1999’s delightfully eclectic release, Pan American Shindig, features Alan MacEwen on vocals & guitar, Chris Watling on saxes & accordion, and Matt Sedgley on drums. If you’re thinking to yourself, “That sounds like Bill Kirchen ripping some classic dieselbilly riffs on this track,” well, that’s pretty spooky … because he is! Alan and Chris would return the favor soon after by laying down some horn and vocal lines on a couple tracks from Kirchen’s Dieselbilly Road Trip on the Cracker Barrel label. “Smoke and Mirrors” was co-written with Susan Lowell – all songs were recorded at DC’s Groovetown USA studios.
Back in the early 90s when my good buddy, Karl, introduced me to the band, the boys enjoyed a more elongated name, The Grandsons of the Pioneers. No doubt many folks assume the band shortened the name to The Grandsons to save time, but the shocking truth is that the band was a victim of humorlessness – with deep pockets. As the boys explain on their website:
“After eight years of plying their pop sound around the country as Grandsons of the Pioneers, the group’s increasing notoriety resulted in a high-noon showdown with singing cowboys, Sons of the Pioneers, who balked at the idea of acknowledging paternity to a low down, trumpet-toting, sax-blowing rock and roll band. Counseled by their team of cut-throat lawyers to keep on playing rather than pause to litigate, the band shortened its name to The Grandsons and has been going full throttle ever since.”