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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Detroit rock city

By Trevor Hale

Gaining popularity and respect as a cover band scares the hell out of a lot of musicians.

To some, the cover band is the butt-end of the best musician jokes. The Detroit Cobras were never afraid of that label, though. It could be that the songs they choose to cover don’t suck, or just that they make no apologies for being a damn good rock and roll band.Formed in the mid ’90s in Detroit, Mich. (hence the clever name), the Cobras started plucking obscure tracks out of their old 45 collections and breathing new life into them. With an ability to convincingly mix Motown, country, blues, R&B and soul into a signature sound, the band stood out from its hometown’s legions of half-hearted, garage rock imitators. More than 10 years later and with a handful of releases beneath its belt, the band still packs a mean punch.

The Cobra’s secret weapon lies with the two females that anchor the band. Singer Rachel Nagy and guitarist Mary Ramirez display the perfect amount of hipster sex appeal — equal parts sleaze and swagger — that makes them every guy’s dream and every girl’s inspiration. Rarely without a drink or cigarette, Nagy embodies the rock-star look. Her nicotine-laced rasp adds to the booze-fueled riffing that Ramirez has mastered through countless live shows and years of playing for restless bar crowds.

The Detriot Cobras’ new album, Tied & True, contains 13 tracks ranging from the slightly obscure to completely unknown. But that’s what gives the Cobras their allure. The ability to take songs we might or might not recognize, drench them in the dirty blues of its Detroit roots, lace it all with the swing and strut of their two leading ladies and create something all its own.

Make all the jokes you want but watch out because, with the Cobras, thems might be fighting words.

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