The Tequila Mockingbirds are a self-professed highfalutin acoustic guitar duo out of Saratoga Springs featuring George Fletcher and Peter Pashoukos. Live at Thirteen is a 10-track ditty with one original. While the two possess an obvious technical skill and a style that is tightly meshed, there’s nothing much here to set them apart from the crowd.
“Freeborn Man” is the hardest-rocking track and “Crow Black Chicken” adds a bit of country twang, but is blighted by its too-long length. “Summertime” is a pleasant take on the standard, with an easy, meandering ambience. The surprising riff at the end hints at something beyond, but that flash of hope is fleeting. On both “Summertime” and “Breezin’,” the complexity of the guitar playing is belied by the relative calmness of the mood. To the record’s detriment, the majority of the covers are overly familiar, and the one original, “Woah Zone,” lacks anything worthy of note. The vocals tend to sound contrived and the guitar often convoluted and unnecessarily self-indulgent.
The Tequila Mockingbirds take a rather quirky approach to the songs they cover, and their sound is energetic, sometimes even catchy. However, playing some of the best-loved songs in rock is a cheap shortcut to crowd-pleasing. In light of their skill, it would be better for the band to rise to the occasion rather than copping out with easy covers. If the guitar prowess evident in Live at Thirteen had been brought to bear on more surprising material and original songwriting, the Tequila Mockingbirds would have a far more interesting album.