The members of Trainwreck Riders have been spreading their punk-tinged country rock like barbecue fire through the back yards, train stations, parks and warehouses of San Francisco since they became a band in the early aughts. In The Perch, the follow-up to their 2006 debut, Lonely Road Revival, these city boys may avoid the straightforward twang and honky-tonk of traditional country, but that doesn’t make them shy about raiding its barn.
The rootsy spirit of the album derives from its bluegrass influences: the banjo-like guitar picking in “Chug Along,” the saw’s Vaudevillian warble in “Livin Daylight.” Steel lap guitar, dobro, accordion and cowbell nudge the sound deeper into backwoods, as does the fiddle — played by the father of drummer Steve Kerwin and guitarist Andrew Kerwin.
They adopted another country-music trick, as well: the use of truism to create themes and choruses. The emotional arcs of these songs come when Peter Frauenfelder sings words like “memories don’t live like people do” and “nothing’s more pleasant with the past.”