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“Forget ‘new’ and alt. country or the numerous other labels applied to anything even remotely linked to the broad church that is Country & Western music – Suzette Lawrence is old-school Nashville (via Texas) through and through. Her vocals contain an intriguing hint of menace, but the pedal steel and mandolin introduction to ‘Baby Don’t Cry’ sets the tone for a traditional heartbreaker of a mid-tempo country ballad. It’s followed by the aptly named title track which sits somewhere in the ether between Gram Parsons and Kitty Wells and will have you searching your wardrobe for a bolo, waistcoat and cowboy boots. This theme is revisited with ‘Kitty Cat Scratch’, a barely disguised tribute to the music of Buck Owens. As is invariably the case with country albums, here Lawrence exposes us to the full range of human emotions, from the optimism of ‘The Sun Will Rise Again’ and ‘Beautiful Dream’ to the anguish and wrath of rocker ‘You Burned Me’. Ultimately, however, much of Tear Up the Honky Tonk is upbeat, toe-tapping rockabilly dance music, epitomized by ‘Texas State Line’ and the wonderful closer, “Yo Soy Tejana (I’m a Texas Girl)’ this is a genuinely impressive debut featuring quality songs and accomplished musicians.”

“The chasm between badass alt.-country Texas singer and polished Nashville crooner seems to grow wider with every Luke Bryan-wannabe’s latest pseudo-country release. And maybe that’s the way it should be. But then there are some performers like Suzette Lawrence who offer the reassurance that the two distinct worlds can coexist like a Texas Ranger atop the Tennessee stud. Considering that this is Lawrence’s debut, which she produced, largely wrote and probably made the coffee too, there are surprisingly few hitches in this Texas-born girl’s getalong. Lawrence currently calls East Nashville home, and the singer-songwriter takes us on an impressive journey past sweaty back-road honky tonks and through torchy downtown lounges. There are plenty of references throughout the 11-song collection to her native Lone Star State. She swings through the rollicking “Texas State Line” and closes with the declarative rocker “Yo Soy Tejana.” Lawrence is right at home with her rockabilly attitude on the rip roarin’ twangy “Leavin’ His Town.” She’s giving the eff-off to some poor schlub on “Kitty Cat Scratch” and completely cuts loose on the sweaty title cut. Coming from a family with a musical background that included singing background and playing bass in the family bluegrass band as a young girl, she’s certainly no newcomer to performing. Perhaps that’s why she’s able to meld so many styles and make it distinctly her own.”

“Heart Warmin’ and Toe tappin’ Honky Tonk – Review albums arrive from a variety of places and this was even odder than usual, as it came from a photographer friend in London who saw Suzette performing in Texas and felt I would like and review it. He was 100% correct. As regular readers will know I’m a stickler for good artwork and a powerful opener and Suzette delivers both with bells on. If I’d spotted the CD in a rack I’d definitely have picked it up and opening track ‘Baby Don’t Cry’ is a classic heartbreaking Country song sung from the pits of her stomach; with a pedal-steel and mandolin competing for your tear ducts. The title track follows and boy does it do what it says on the tin! Suzette and band let rip on a song that Kitty Wells would have been proud to sing and later on ‘Kitty Cat Scratch’ Suzette takes the Kitty Wells formula, drags it kicking and screaming through Buck Owens back catalogue and comes out the other side with a rocking and rolling Country song that would even have me strutting my stuff on the dance-floor. Like all good Country singers Suzette Lawrence takes us through all of the emotions known to man (and woman) with the enchanting ‘Beautiful Dream’ and ‘The Sun Will Rise Again’ but danceable Honky Tonk music is never far away and I defy anyone not to shuffle along to ‘Texas State Line’ or the potent ‘Yo Soy Tejana (I’m a Texas Girl)’ which closes a gem of an album. On the first day I played TEAR UP THE HONKY TONK I was driving around the rolling hills of North Yorkshire in my Volkswagen Estate car; but this album is so damn Countrified I was quickly imagining I was driving through Texas or Colorado in a Ford Maverick with bull horns on the roof and a six pack in the cooler!”

“Suzette Lawrence belts out songs with the power of a border radio station and the fervor of a hellfire and brimstone backwoods preacher.”

“Suzette Lawrence and her band The Neon Angels first came to my attention in the early 90s as one of the acts featured on the milestone compilation A Town South of Bakersfield (Vol 3 – the same one that introduced us to Dale Watson, Wylie & The Wild West Show, Patty Booker, Steve Kolander and more). Back then she was part of the West Coast scene along with Jim Lauderdale, Rosie Flores, and Lucinda Williams, and one of the regulars at the legendary Palomino Club. The main reason I mention all of that, is that in the intervening years, Suzette Lawrence has lost none of her passion on the strength of her latest release. It is brimming with all the energy, and even anger, of the Cowpunk heyday. Now a resident of east Nashville, Suzette Lawrence certainly tears up the honky tonk on the title track, a rockabilly influenced number reminiscent of some of Rosie Flores’ work. Leavin’ His Town is similarly frenetic, and Kitty Cat Scratch is even more rockabilly. However, I actually think that Lawrence is at her best on the more restrained material like the more traditional honky tonker Help Me Remember, the Mavericks-ish The Sun Will Rise Again, or the straight country Barely Hangin’ On. She also sometimes leans towards a more Americana feel such as on the opening Baby Don’t Cry. Yo Soy Tejana (I’m A Texas Girl) has a great feel and sounds like one of those songs that would work well live. If you recall the Cowpunk days when alt-country actually meant something, you will be delighted to know that in Suzette’s world, despite the passing of years, nothing has really changed. I guess that just reinforces that she does her thing and has remained true to herself and that has to be admired.”

“Whether pounding out numbers from behind her big Gibson acoustic, or bopping around, Suzette Lawrence never gives less than 110% in her efforts to have as good a time as the band are giving. Bands like this are really too good to miss.”

“What a great hardcore country record by my favorite Neon Angel! It’s real classic country interspersed with some great rockabilly tunes and it takes ya back to them heady days of cowpunk and Ronnie Mack’s Barndance at the Palomino!”

“This is what great country rock and rockabilly is all about, as the band soars along on what sounds like a fuel mix of adrenaline and alcohol.”

“Born and raised in Texas, Suzette Lawrence and her band the Neon Angels play Americana with a strong honky tonk and rockabilly flavor. Suzette grew up singing harmony and playing upright bass in her parents’ bluegrass band, the Backwoods Volunteers, which was based in San Antonio.” At the age of 13, she began recording with Augie Meyers of the Texas Tornados/Sir Douglas Quintet producing. After graduating from college, she moved to Los Angeles and went electric, putting together the Neon Angels with influences such as Gram Parsons, Wanda Jackson and Tammy Wynette. Suzette now makes vibrant East Nashville her home. She has performed in 11 countries and at such illustrious venues as The Borderline in London, the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, Billy Bob’s in Paris, The Continental Club in Austin, The Rodeo Bar in New York City, Robert’s Western World in Nashville and the Palomino in North Hollywood. She has also performed three times, live on BBC radio in Greater London. Suzette’s debut album Tear Up The Honky Tonk features 11 original songs written or co-written by Suzette. She produced the album at Nashville’s County Q recording studio.”