Idle Ranch Hands 

Dear Kenny Chesney fans: There is more to country music than fruity drinks, unearned emotion and beach blanket bingo. The Idle Ranch Hands understand this and with one irascible Facebook post this past summer they let the people know where the band stood in the country music pantheon: "Yes, we do have a dress code. Western suits. Bolo ties. Cowboy boots. The audience should know you are in the band just by looking at you. No shorts. I don't care how hot it is. No tennis shoes. That's what you play tennis in, not music. Absolutely no sandals. You can't look like you just got out of the fuckin' river. That's all."

Dressing the part is key, but you've gotta be able to back it up with your playing—think Liberace—and the Idle Ranch Hands' musical pedigree suggests that playing ain't a problem. Featuring Sam Nasset, Tim Martin and Duke Kirshenmann of Russ Nasset and the Revelators, as well as Gibson Hartwell, formerly of Tom Catmull and the Clerics, the band performs self-described "hard country," the kind that weeps with sorrowful steel guitar, the kind that used to play in your grandpa's shop before Nashville decided tasty waves and a cool buzz was just fine.

The Idle Ranch Hands play the Top Hat Fri., Oct. 11, at 9:30 PM with The Cold Hard Cash Show. $5.

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