The Derailers vocalist Brian Hofeldt once described his band’s sound as a mix of Buck Owens and the Beatles. But, since cofounder and former vocalist Tony Villanueva left two years ago, the sound has changed slightly. Hofeldt says the band still has “that mainstream Bakersfield and Liverpool sound,” but a couple of cuts on their latest, Soldiers of Love, speak of a different place and time. “Donna Lee” features a signature Bo Diddley beat and “Get ‘er Done” reeks of Jerry Lee Lewis.
Hofeldt, though, says the band’s country roots are still intact. “Aw, man, we’re just a honky-tonk band. We’d come up in the dancehalls in Texas playing to please the crowds and the dancers,” says Hofeldt, calling from his Texas home
Still, even after 12 years and six albums, not everyone gets it. The Derailers (that’s DEE-railers) fly under the same radar as folks like Dale Watson, Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys and Wayne Hancock. They peddle their honky-tonk door-to-door with some 300 dates a year. “Not being on the radio in a major fashion, we sort of have to get out there and let the people know in a grassroots kind of way,” he says. After all, it’s a band of the people. “It’s all about drinking and cheatin’. Just go out, kick off your shoes, forget the workweek woes and have a good time.”
The Derailers play Hideaway BBQ in Raleigh on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 on the day of the show.