If you've frequented many of the local music joints in this area, particularly in the fair region known as the Paris of the Piedmont, then those catchy little numbers penned by Chapel Hillian Bill "Billy Sugarfix" McCormick are virtually in the air you've been breathing.
This collection represents local friends and neighbors who've been internalizing the music of Evil Wiener for as long as they've been here. Visions of gumdrops and haunted houses and striped-shirted troubadours dancing in their heads, they have now turned out their own translations of McCormick's songs. The simple structure of the originals allows for a lot of interpretive play by those covering the melodic jewels, and some took this opportunity to great success, honoring McCormick's tunes while giving the listener a whole new animal altogether. Take brilliant standout "Fairy Tale," redone by The Stray Sod (Chuck Johnson and Amy Wilkinson), which captures the magical, otherworldly nuances of the original, but takes it to wholly other place. Bass-driven dark overtones creep in, piano tinkles throughout, until Wilkinson's captured environmental recordings of birds give the song a sense of place; making this fable very real. Ghost of Rock strips bare "Bad Manners," hops up the tempo and thanks to whiskey and Bud, finally takes advantage of the innocence therein. Never thought you'd hear George Jones do an EW song? Try $2 Pistols' "Silver Dollars." Three Torches evoke a cigarillo-smoking Nick Cave with their "Haunted House," Holy Roman Empire float "Maria" on a luminescent cloud of harmonium and delicate vocals, and Shallow Be Thy Name check in nicely with an upbeat strummer on "Mary Poppins." Poncho Holly gives a tweaked sense of unrest to "Ann Can," with spiraling guitar that fades out into loops and feedback. Work Clothes stretch out "Marching Band," giving it a somber tone. I Can't breaks the rules of tribute records, and actually sounds great, whether or not you're an Evil Wiener fan.