Selective Memory Review of the Righteous Hillbillies "Two Wheels Down a Lost Highway"  
(Self Release)

Righteous Hillbillies tap the Muscle Shoals sound on their fourth release.....

The humidity the emits from Righteous Hillbillies’ Two Wheels Down A Lost Highway is an illusion. Their latest album is what Southern rock dreams are made of. And if you feel the same, you are not too far off the mark.

However, this band hails from Joliet, Illinois. It is the last place I would have guessed. More known for their twang and blues boogie than Chicago expressionism, the group takes to the countryside for their inspiration. Since the late 2000s, this band has been climbing up the rock and roll ladder with vibrant performances and released two albums: a self-titled debut and the illuminated Trece Diablos.

Two Wheels Down A Lost Highway focuses on traditionalism in their southern influences. It did so much that they went down to Muscle Shoals to record. Now are you seeing the Southern ties here? An offset of the historical equipment used, songs like the opener “Rollin’” has that Exile On Main Street feel while carving a personalized niche in this album. “Throwing Stones” gets rowdy. The only thing missing here is Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar solos. You get the idea.

When you get to a song like “Shake This Feeling” you cannot help but get auras of Steve Winwood solo emotions along with Blue Rodeo sincerity. It’s a gorgeous well-rounded tune that shows the band does not have to kick up dirt to shine with road-driven ballad.

“Down To Memphis” is a song that puts forth every effort to kick up dust. From the slide guitar to its minor blues scales, you get that smoky aroma in their guitar roar. The silver-bearded grit and Southern sweat makes this song a real treat followed by an equally ambitious, “Call Me A Doctor.”

Having that Muscle Shoals experience really amped up the organic quality of the Righteous Hillbillies’ sound. Hearing these songs, you not just feel a sense of energy pouring out of these songs but a feeling of history in the care it took to write this material.


Razor Fish Reviews "Two Wheels Down a Lost Highway"

It’s a bit incongruous that such a dyed in the wool blues rock band like The Righteous Hillbillies hail from the comparatively sedate confines of the Midwest, but you’ll forget about geographical vagaries pretty quickly once their fourth album, Two Wheels Down a Lost Highway, opens up. This is a band obviously well versed in both blues and blues rock traditions, but they elevate the genre with their obvious command of the music and their ability to bring their personalities to the fore through the music. Their three preceding albums and numerous appearances on stages shared by some of the pre-eminent names in roots and popular music today have made a name for themselves as ranking among the top acts working today and the fourth album stands as a testament to their unquestionable power and surprising sophistication with this sort of music. 

“Rollin’” opens the ten song collection with just the right balance between feel, substance, and energy. Nick Normando’s slide guitar work nicely punctuates the song without ever overwhelming the arrangement and Brent James’ vocals ring out well with a pleasing combination of attitude and soulfulness. “Throwing Stones” harnesses a little more overt musical firepower than the preceding track, but Barret Harvey’s drumming swings with the same resolute focus on the groove that makes so many of the band’s songs stick like glue to listener’s memories. “All Down But Nine” is a surging, straight ahead romp with fiery guitars and muscular, stripped down drumming that keeps coming at the listener and never lets up. The underlying organ gives real heft to the arrangement and Harvey’s capacity for swing serves the song well “Two Wheels Down a Lost Highway” is a fantastic title track that plays out in a much more cinematic way than its length might indicate. This is thanks to multiple little “mini” movements in the song that hang together quite well and benefit from a memorable Brent James vocal. 

“Down to Memphis” is a mid-tempo blues rocker decidedly leaning towards the rock side of things. The sleazy crawl the band finds in this song centers on, once again, Harvey’s drumming and everything gets a shot of inspiration from his touch behind the kit. That electrified menace is dialed up a few notches on “Call Me a Doctor” and the much harsher vocal approach brings results that listeners won’t find elsewhere on this album. One of the big overall instrumental factors powering this song is the snarling attack of Nick Normando’s slide guitar playing and few songs show off his flash better than this one. His capacity for bludgeoning listeners with the big, blasting blues riffs at his disposal finds a nice workout on the song “Drama Zone” and Chris Bartley’s interspersing organ riffing fills the empty spaces with color. Two Wheels Down a Lost Highway is a sincere experience that never sounds imitative; instead, The Righteous Hillbillies have picked up the genre’s mantle and are carrying it into the future with real creativity. 

When you get to a song like “Shake This Feeling” you cannot help but get auras of Steve Winwood solo emotions along with Blue Rodeo sincerity. It’s a gorgeous well-rounded tune that shows the band does not have to kick up dirt to shine with road-driven ballad.


9 out of 10 stars


Indie Music Review of "Two Wheels Down a Lost Highway" 

Indie Music Review 
by Lance Wright  

The fourth album from Midwestern based blues rockers The Righteous Hillbillies, Two Wheels Down a Lost a Highway, is another entry in a growing discography that has earned this five piece a reputation as one of the nation’s best purveyors of traditional music.  

The ten song collection highlights the considerable talents of vocalist Brent James, but that’s not the sole reason to draw people in and The Righteous Hillbillies are a cut above thanks to across the board instrumental excellence and impressively solid songwriting. It’s impressive, at this late date in popular music history, to still encounter musicians and songwriters working within the relatively limited blues rock tradition and able to wring fresh variations from its long standing formulas.  

This is accomplished, in part, thanks to James’ vocals, but the other half of the equation is the commitment the players manifest and, to a lesser extent, the superb production job from Brent James that makes this music seem monumentally immediate.  

Rollin has some particularly stunning electric slide from the band’s lead guitarist Nick Normando and some killer accompaniment from Hammond organ. Lead singer James is a remarkable vocalist in some ways – the frequently drawn parallels with former Black Crowes vocalist Chris Robinson are mildly instructive, but overall, such comparisons serve no ultimate purpose. He has a remarkable artfulness with the material that most singers in this idiom do not possess, but the most distinguishing quality about his vocals is the studied, yet utterly natural, soulfulness he invests the lyrics with.  

There’s a great swing propelling Throwing Stones will catch your attention from the start and has Chris Bartley’s organ punching away just underneath the guitars. The use of the organ provides necessary ballast against the twin guitars of Normando and James.  

A feeling of constant winding up fires the verses of Shake This Feeling and resolves itself when the chorus hits. The bluesy piano runs streaking through the mix keep this track light-footed rather than sinking into some more blues rock guitar heroics. 

There’s an increased sense of ambition on the title track, an expansiveness of treatment, we don’t hear in a lot of the songs. It is still firmly grounded in the band’s traditional loves, but there’s clearly more of an effort here to own the genre’s tropes as their own rather than merely attempting to approximate them.  

Nick Normando stands out once again as a true musical force in this band thanks to his tasteful and often quite rousing playing. The vocal on Call Me a Doctor sounds like a cross between Captain Beefheart’s tortured yowl and Howlin’ Wolf’s deep Memphis growl. The band and arrangement respond in kind with a patient, piano and slide guitar driven focus that gives the track real edge.  

Shackles & Chains continues the band’s habit for making great use of stock genre imagery and imbuing it with something of their personality. Its mid-tempo march evolves slowly, but inexorably, from a seemingly tentative beginning and ends quite nicely.  

Two Wheels Down a Lost Highway continues the band’s impressive streak of top shelf blues rock albums. 

Indie Music Review 

#righteoushillbillies # indiemusicreview #twowheelsdown


Review from Vent Magazine of "Two Wheels Down a Lost Highway" 

Vents Magazine 
by Lydia Hillenburg 

The fourth album from Illinois based blues and Southern rock disciples Righteous Hillbillies marks a reinforcement of their traditional approach to songwriting and music making while still offering many examples of their talent for making something personal out of the genre’s tropes. Brent James produced this outing and has done a stellar job of putting the band’s strengths in the best possible light – the weaving of instruments on this crackle with the kind of life listeners might expect more from a live album than a studio concoction. The ten song collection is steeped in traditional invocations of blues and rock traditions, but the songwriting is often startling personal, or at least suggestive, and makes excellent use of the genre as a vehicle for self-expression. This is an album that, instead of just milking blues rock clichés, bleeds sincerity.  

It kicks off with the track “Rollin’”. There certainly isn’t anything going on here or elsewhere on Two Wheels Down a Lost Highway that we, as listeners, haven’t heard before. However, Righteous Hillbillies bring a freshness and verve to this tradition that listeners haven’t heard in some time and vocalist Brent James is a big reason why. This sort of music requires the right musicians to bring it off but, even more so, the right singer with an unique combination of pipes, passion, and personality. He delivers that in spades.The organ and guitar driven rocker “All Down the Nine” works up a mighty head of steam from the outset and never relents. The union of Nick Normando’s lead guitar, given extra weight by Brent James’ second guitar laying down a beefy rhythm, with Chris Bartley’s romping Hammond organ lines. This is far more rock than anything else but, like everything else on this album, even this four on the floor powerhouse runs on blues fuel. There’s a pumping acoustic guitar and rollicking piano lines underpinning “Shake This Feeling”, but drummer Barret Harvey’s uptempo swing is the biggest musical highlight here that gives vocalist James a great groove to belt from.  

The title song slows things down while broadening the band’s sound. This is, arguably, The Righteous Hillbillies’ finest example on the album of how expertly they refurbish the genre’s clichés for their own use and make them sound fresher than they have in years. The molasses tempo of “Down to Memphis” is quite apropos for its subject matter and Normando’s acoustic slide work is every bit as biting as his electric slide playing on the opener. Bartley’s organ is once again sparring hard with the guitars on “Drama Zone” and the grinding arrangement milks the song’s potential for all its worth. This is, likewise, one of James’ best vocals and he really digs into the song’s arrangement and nicely complements the arrangement. The closing track “Rock, Salt & Nails” is another acoustic blues once again distinguished by Normando’s slide playing and one of James’ most sensitive, considered vocals on Two Wheels Down a Lost Highway. This is a fine reaffirmation of the band’s strengths while still showing clear signs of evolution. The Righteous Hillbillies are capable of hitting all the right notes for this genre of music, but they prove with this latest album that they are capable of writing and performing music in this vein brimming over with surprising originality with personality shining through. 

Vents Magazine 

#righteoushillbillies #Lydia Hillenburg #ventsmagazine #twowheelsdown

No More Division reviews “Two Wheels Down a Lost Highway” 

Brent James (vocals/guitar), Barret Harvey (drums), Jeff Bella (bass), Nick Normando (guitar/vocals) and Chris Bartley (keys/vocals) are the Righteous Hillbillies. They recently released Two Wheels Down A Lost Highway and if you take a look at the band they look like a bunch of badasses. They might all be sweethearts but they don’t look like a bunch of guys you would mess with. 

Their music is a mix of southern charm, rock and a good amount of attitude. It’s nothing I haven't heard before but the band has some serious chops in a number of musical areas. The songs are well written and delivered and above all else feel quite memorable.  

They open with a track called “Rollin’.” The band doesn't waste any time as the song starts with the full band and short guitar solo. Once the verse hits you are treated to a saloon style piano, well-placed guitar fills and well-sung vocals. The song fits so much in within its runtime. Suffice it to say if you enjoyed the first song you will enjoy the remaining ones.  

“Throwing Stones” is down and dirty rock with attitude that is perfect for a Friday night at the bar. The organ sounded great to my ears. It reminded me of a distant cousin to the song Radar Love. 

“Shake The Feeling” was one of my favorite songs on the album. The song does mention whiskey and smoking but also is quite heartfelt. I especially enjoyed the piano on this track. “Down To Memphis” is one of the most southern sounding tracks while “Drama Zone” has vocals with a slight gospel vibe along with a killer bass line. They close with a solid number entitled “Shackles & Chains.” 

​The thing I liked about this band is they know exactly what type of music they want to play. This is an old school rock vibe that I think a lot of people will still find appealing.

#TwoWheelsDown #RighteousHillbillies #NoMoreDivision

Roots Time (Belgium) reviews "Two Wheels Down a Lost Highway"

In fairness we must say that we are at the first sight of the five members of the American band "Righteous Hillbillies" in Joliet, Illinois were immediately convinced that this was about a classic country band, especially by the present cowboy hats and bandanas which lead singer Brent James, bassist Jeff Bella, drummer Barret Harvey, lead guitarist Nick Normando and pianist-organist Chris Bartley on the head wear. 

But listening to their album "Two Wheels Down A Lost Highway" sends us in a different musical direction, namely the pure rock 'n' roll with a few songs hints blues and soul as an extra spice was added. The energy drips from the nine original compositions and carefully selected cover of Utah Phillips song "Rock, Salt & Nails", a song which also was recorded by many other artists, including Joan Baez, Steve Young, Waylon Jennings and Buddy & Julie Miller. 
The dynamic performances of "Righteous Hillbillies' are reputed in Illinois and around and lead singer and main songwriter Brent James is taking a charismatic figure who get problems on the basis of public awareness. Now, that might also be made easier by the songs, the band live and this new CD. It is a shame that we have not found a video with a song from this album to convince you of that energy of the band. 

Songs like "Rolling", "Throwing Stones", "All Down But Nine" rousing organ sounds Chris Bartley ensure that can not remain indifferent and silent audience as the band playing these songs live. Also, thereby can provide a lot voetengeschuifel the album title track "Two Wheels Down A Lost Highway," "Shake This Feeling", "Drama Zone" and "Shackles & Chains". Furthermore, the bluesy "Down To Memphis" and "Call Me A Doctor" clearly included under the influence of the sound that the legendary BB King has produced for decades. 

With us call this band good memories of groups as "Lynyrd Skynyrd" and "Bob Seger Band. 'Righteous Hillbillies' their self-titled debut album launched in 2008 and 2012 followed the album "Trece Diablos". In 2015 appeared the recorded album "The Muscle Shoals Sessions" in the famous "Fame' studio in Alabama. With the new album "Two Wheels Down A Lost Highway" shows the band to the outside world know that they are still not without inspiration cases and that they still have a lot of beautiful songs in the pipeline in place for future work.

#TwoWheelsDown #RighteousHillbillies #rootstime #belgium
Palace of Rock Review of Righteous Hillbillies "Two Wheels Down a Lost Highway" From Sweden

Review by Kaj Roth 
Palace of Rock Sweden

It doesn´t have to be so complex, I´m talking about rock and roll, you know when it´s down to basics with 5 guys doing what they do best like the Illinois based Righteous Hillbillies.  

They are having lots of fun and have written some good music along the way, so what kind of rock and roll are we talking about here? Well, these guys play a lovely blend of southern rock, boogie and blues. Timeless rock that could hail from 1974, 1990 or in present time.  

This kind of music will never sound dated and their frontman Brent James sings with so much feeling that I totally surrender to the songs on their 4th album "Two wheels down a lost highway".  

They invited guest musicians from Gov´t Mule and Steppenwolf on their previous record "The muscle shoals sessions" (2015) but this band doesn´t need any outside help, they show us that they can do it just as good on their own.  

Just listen to groovy songs like "Shackles and chains" or "Rollin´" and you´ll be a fan too, the song "Call me a doctor" bring thoughts to Joe Cocker while the rest of the album will appeal to fans of Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Ile Kallio Big Rock Band.  
It´s only rock and roll but I like it. 

#TwoWheelsDown #RighteousHillbillies #palaceofrock #kajroth 

A Roadmap for Rock 'n' Roll Paradise: The New Record from The Righteous Hillbillies 


The cover photo of the new Righteous Hillbillies record, taken by Kevin Selph, is a beautiful shot of a long, desolate road leading into a tree lined tunnel. More than a perfect complement to the record title, Two Wheels Down a Lost Highway, it is actually an invitation. Pack your bags, leave your inhibitions in the dust, and ride into the rock ‘n’ roll emporium of pleasure, aggression, and avid enlargement of each moment. Rock ‘n’ roll has always pulled off the parlor trick of offering listeners an escape, but not an escape from reality – an escape into a reality larger than the one of the everyday. Rock ‘n’ roll, in its best moments, communicates the intensity of life that is available to those ready for the ride. 

Read the Full Review at NO DEPRESSION 


#TwoWheelsDown #MuscleShoals #Dave Masciotra #RighteousHillbillies #No Depression

Everytime I listen to these guys I hear, just enough of the Drive by Truckers in what they do, and could I pay a band a higher compliment than that? I can't, actually! 

Richard Milne 
WXRT, Chicago, IL

The Righteous Hillbillies are blessed with Southern rock talent.  

Jason Scales  
Illinois Entertainer Around Hear​

Whoa! I thought these guys were from Joliet Illinois. At first listen you would swear they came outta the swamps of the American southland. The more you listen the more you hear. If you took The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty and…oh let’s say Guns ‘N’ Roses …put them all in a paper sack, threw in some chicken, shook it up and fried it in a cast iron skillet it would give you an idea of what The Righteous Hillbillies sound like. 

Billy Rose  
DJ Clinton Iowa since  
Producer and Host of the Midwest Revue and The Big Blues Broadcast. ​

“The Hillbillies are one of the most exciting bands around! A perfect blend of great song writing and performance art."  

Todd D. Boss   
Bossman 98.3 WCCQ

Their first album was a collection of great original rock and roll songs, bathed in the blood of ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Black Crowes, and dried off with a country twang straight from the delta. But, if these two songs—“Not Alone” and “She’s Righteous”—are any indication of what is to come from the Righteous Hillbillies, we can excitedly attempt to rest without a moment’s peace, while anticipating the rock and roll storm forming on the horizon. The debut, self-titled album was simply a preview of what is to come—foreplay for the ultimate aphrodisiac the boys have been cooking up.  

Dave Masciotra 
Rock n' Roll Journalist and Author of:
Metallica 33 1/3 
Working on a Dream: The Progressive Political Vision of Bruce Springsteen 
Mellencamp: American Troubadour​

"The vocals on I'm not feelin' you are dead on!" 

Dean Restum
Former Musical Director/Guitarist for Eric Burdon & the Animals

Fantastic debut CD by this absolutely authentic 4-man rock 'n roll American band, from which one can certainly expect more greatness in the future! 

The New Lenox Patriot 

The Righteous Hillbillies have delivered what could easily be considered one of the best albums of 2012 with the musically-perfect Trece Diablos. From the jangly and Mashall Tucker-like opening track Beautifully Broken, to the Steve Earlesque, dark and haunting closer Before the Devil Knows, this amazing collection of masterfully-performed songs exemplifies all that is glorious and grand in American music. 

Legendary cowpunk pioneeer  
Pete Berwick

After listening to a few of the new cuts from the Righteous Hillbillies, I was shocked by the raw power they captured with their tracks. These boys really knocked it out of the park with this one. I personally cannot wait to hear the rest of the new album, “Trece Diablos” 

Dave Skala  
Producer/owner of McWoahs Productions