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Brooklyn has never been a magnet for aspiring country musicians, but somehow Kansas-bred Jason Rueger managed to gravitate towards that unlikely destination for those about to twang. Even more unlikely, he was able to hook up with three other misplaced hayseeds (I use the word affectionately) and together they formed the aptly-named Country Mice – they definitely would appear to be anomalous bumpkins in the hippest borough on the planet.
But appearances can be deceiving, because Rueger and company are definitely not rubes. First of all, they have the musical goods. “Morning Son,” a track from the band’s debut album, Twister, is a dandy slice of alt-country, full of clever lyrics, catchy hooks, and fine harmonies. Secondly, about three quarters of the way through the song the Country Mice reveal their hidden agenda – they know exactly where they’re living and they can go toe-to-toe with the city mice on their own turf.
Prior to the final verse of “Morning Son,” the Country Mice unleash a squall of Sonic Youth/Yo La Tengo inspired feedback that rides atop the easygoing country lope like Thurston Moore in the cab of a John Deere tractor. It’s a surprising development but one that works better than it has any right to, and it shows that these former farmboys know their way around the city after all.
In the old fable of the Country Mouse and the City Mouse, the titular cousins visit each other’s homes and both end up scared shitless by what they saw, with the moral that people are better off sticking with what they know. The Country Mice prove as well as anyone ever has that Aesop or Beatrix Potter or whoever came up with that parable was full of crap with that particular insight. “Morning Son” shows that sometimes yokels from the provinces can be just as at home in the sophisticated metropolis as the urban natives.