"New American Shame" (Atlantic/Lava/Will Records; 1999)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Who could have imagined that Seattle would produce the most Bon Scott-era AC/DC sounding band in the last twenty years? The similarities are damn near shameless - but it sounds great. The fact that New American Shame is signed to Atlantic Records makes the copycat factor increase immensely (AC/DC's "Highway Hell" started their relationship with Atlantic). 

Every cliché you can imagine is packed into these twelve songs. However, to expect originality from New American Shame is to expect Bill Clinton not to lie - it just ain't gonna happen.  Every song echoes an AC/DC classic. Is this a bad thing? Depends on your tolerance for imitation. Typically my tolerance for imitation is pretty low, but I'll cut New American Shame a little slack for reviving the rowdy rock of one of my favorite bands of all time. 

The first two tracks, "Under It All" and "Broken Bones" are particularly good. "Down In The Valley" and "Lesson In Cool" have a decent kick, too. However, the rest of the songs aren't particularly memorable. New American Shame sounds like party music at a friend's house - it's familiar enough to feel comfortable, but not edgy enough to take you away from a conversation. 

Jimmy Paulson handled most of the production; Bret Elliason handled the rest. The production is fantastic as all the songs ring clear and true albeit with the ghost of Bon Scott smiling from above. Jimmy Paulson and Johnny wrote all the songs. 

New American Shame is Johnny on vocals, Geoff Reading on drums, Kelly Wheeler on bass, Terry Bratsch on rhythm guitar and background vocals, and Jimmy Paulson on lead guitar and background vocals. 

For more information visit and get that retro feeling.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 1999 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 06 Mar 2022 14:38:31 -0500.