Born and raised in Kentucky but calling Northern California home for some time now, Charlie Tweddle is an outsider polymath: musician, artist, taxidermist, designer of cowboy hats. And while that last one (imagine a wearable ten-gallon peyote trip) brought him a degree of notoriety among a certain swath of the showbiz elite beginning in the early seventies (Cher and Reggie Jackson are fans of his hats), it's his music that has been peaking the curiosity of underground and private press fiends for some years now.
On Knee Deep Blues, the third release of the oddball troubadour's work from the Mighty Mouth label, Tweddle presents a more straightforward roots sound, albeit one still stridently unconcerned with any sort of commercial acceptance. Comprising simple, stripped-down blues and country numbers about forlorn, heartbroken loners and the bartenders who love them, the set finds Tweddle slightly askew of rebel songwriters like Townes Van Zandt or Blaze Foley, but still places him firmly within that tradition. While it doesn't have any extended forays into hillbilly musique concrète, a la side two of Fantastic Greatest Hits, Knee Deep Blues is indeed a Charlie Tweddle record, so don't be surprised to hear a croaking frog accompanying a slide riff or a squawking chicken giving Charlie some vocal assistance. To wit, this isn't exactly your daddy's country music, unless of your course your daddy is a milliner with a penchant for hallucinatory taxidermy.
For all of his eccentricities, though, Tweddle is at heart a unique and fantastically talented songwriter, effortlessly combining his deep southern roots with the west coast psychedelic tradition. Along with The Midnight Plowboy and Fantastic Greatest Hits, Knee Deep Blues completes an essential trilogy of outsider Americana and further establishes Tweddle as one of the genre's most talented and overlooked characters