The title of VTO's new album sums up the flippant nature of its songs. Greatest Country Shits includes songs about drinking, barbecue and country living. On stage, the Missoula band often switches between punk and cowpunk styles, but this album definitely revels in redneck twang. I like the sympathetic portrait of the woman in curlers waiting for her dreams to come true in "Camper Queen." Other tracks like "Day Drinking," "Hamburger Time" and "Barbeque on My Mind" appeal to anyone who likes beer and meat. "Kill the Cat" is the darkest song, though it's played with lighthearted aplomb. Remember that old kids' song called "The Cat Came Back" about an old man trying to give a cat away and the cat keeps showing back up? This is the adult version.
GCS feels similar to VTO's previous release, What to Expect When You're Expecting VTO, but with more white-trash spirit, partly amplified by Emily Crawford's fiddle playing. (Both albums include the song "Redneck Rendezvous," though.) What I love most about VTO songs here is that, as simple as they seem, there are a lot of delicious details to relish. The band members mix in harmonized "oohs" and hot guitar solos flare up in all the right places. Each song is saddled by strutting basslines from Greg Twigg, and Charlie Beaton's vocals embody careless defiance. Easy to love stuff. Except "Kill the Cat." That one takes some getting used to.This article was updated Fri., March 6, to reflect the correct name of the band's first album.