It would be great to say that after 25 years of relative obscurity, Pistoleros are ready to break into the big time. After all, they have the wherewithal to substantiate any ability to do so, not to mention a legacy that ought to make them more than also-rans in the Americana pantheon. It’s notable too that the band was co-founded by Doug Hopkins, a onetime member of the Gin Blossoms, although he left far too soon, leaving it to the other musicians of the original line-up — specifically, Mark and Lawrence Zubia, Scott Andrews and Mark Riggs — to stake a claim all on their own. Subsequent label deals with Hollywood Records and EMI Publishing, and co-writing credits with Hopkins, Radney Foster, The Smithereens’ Pat DiNizio and Jayhawks’ Gary Louris and Mark Perlman, should have ensured their credibility and worth as far as ranking, but sadly, Pistoleros are mostly relegated to the status of also-rans who are sadly lacking the attention they deserve.
Indeed, in retrospect, it’s somewhat ironic that their very first LP was entitled Mistaken for Granted.
Happily, though, all is not lost. To commemorate the band’s 25th anniversary, the group is offering those unaware another opportunity for appreciation with the aptly titled Silver. A set of songs as riveting, resolute, cutting and incisive as anything the Drive-By Truckers, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit or the Bottle Rockets have managed over the course of their careers, it’s a fitting refresher course in Pistoleros proficiency. The slash and burn intensity of “You’re Not Alone” and “Lost & Gone” find respite in the more sobering sentiments of “Don’t Break My Heart and “Broken Man,” each the essence of frayed sentiment and hard-won resolve. Perhaps it’s the fact that the Zubias, Andrews and Riggs are still in the fold (although later recruit Thomas Laufenberg also deserves credit for helping to propel the attack), but ultimately, it’s a compelling set of songs that ensure the album’s success. Make a note on the calendar; this is one silver anniversary that rekindles the credence that’s obviously been earned.