At this stage in the Bottle Rockets career, the dreams of mega-stardom are long gone. What the Missouri based band has accomplished is a solid, loyal fan-base that will continue to buy albums and go to shows. Brian Henneman and co. have mad a career of making rootsy rock songs. The have a strong country presence in their music as well. This country side comes forward in this acoustic live album. The Bottle Rockets stripped down the songs to their basic elements and totally abandoned their any Neil Young distortion sounding guitar.
The problem with Not So Loud is that the tracklist is what you would expect it to be. The songs chosen fit too well in this environment. “Early In The Morning” is well represented but the original track pretty much Henneman and a banjo already; not much can be “stripped down” from that song. Most of the songs on the album follow this trend.
The one exception is “Rural Route” a rocking track from the band’s self titled first album. The transform it into a much different sounding song. You could make a laundry list of other songs that would have been interesting to see in a different form here. I would have loved to hear an acoustic take on “Nancy Sinatra” or “Alone In Bad Company.”
The record is not bad in any way, it is just predictable and feels familiar. “Gravity Fails” and “Lucky Break” start the album strong before the monotony kicks in. The clear highlight of the songs present here is “”Perfect Far Away.”
Key Tracks: “Lucky Break” “Perfect Far Away”