Tommy Stinson was a founding and lifelong member of The Replacements, a vital second-generation member of Guns N’ Roses and also spent seven years with Soul Asylum. Not to mention his two important bands, Bash & Pop and Perfect, he has appeared on albums by the Old 97’s, MOTH, and BT, and played bass on the Rock Remix of Puff Daddy‘s It’s All About the Benjamin’s.

Cowboys in the Campfire is Stinson’s current project, a duo with good friend Chip Roberts, and its first album, Wronger, is possibly the most American record the singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer has ever created.

Wronger‘s ten tracks blaze a wild path through twang and grit, melody and (mainly poetic) mayhem. The opening song, Here We Are Again, establishes the tone: Stinson on ukulele, singing about the joys of creating while horns swell and there’s no discernible percussion other than the musicians in the room tapping their feet. It is indeed stark and direct, like being right in the centre of a hurricane. From there, Stinson and Roberts transport us from Nashville to Bakersfield, while displaying exceptional pop song writing chops.

“I’m not one to be pigeonholed — but I’m not putting a lot of thought into it that I DON’T want to be pigeonholed,” Stinson explains, “For me it’s always been that the songs pretty much tell you what they’re going to do. I can sit there and work a song into the ground, forcing my will on it, or you can listen to the song and go, ‘What does this want?’ and do that. I’ve always done it that way. Ultimately, it’s more about, ‘Let’s try and get the best 10 and take what we’ve got and make them the best they can be.'”

Stinson and Roberts’ main objective now is to keep the Cowboys in the Campfire on the road and playing as much as possible. Stinson still has other endeavours in mind, but the duo is undeniably an active concern and one he’s confident we’ll be hearing from on a regular basis.

Golden Robot Records will release Wronger in Australia and New Zealand on June 2nd.