The Troubadours have been on the Red Dirt scene since 2007 and have quickly risen to stardom in the genre. The blending of country, bluegrass, and rock make for interesting and distinctive music and is one reason the band has become so popular. The Turnpike Troubadours consist of RC Edwards (bass, vocals), Ryan Engleman (electric guitar, steel), Evan Felker (lead vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica, banjo), Kyle Nix (fiddle, vocals), and Gabriel Pearson (drums, vocals, percussion). All of the songs were written or co-written by Felker and Edwards, with the exception of the deranged cover of the Old 97's "Doreen."
The record kicks off with a bang in "The Bird Hunters," a song about old friends and relationships set to Nix's impeccable fiddle playing. Next up is the rollicking "The Mercury," picking up where "Good Lord Lorrie" left off on the band's previous release "Goodbye Normal Street." Revisiting the tumultuous ex-relationship of Jimmy and Lorrie, the singer appears to be poised to make his move on Lorrie.
The album's lead off single "Down Here" is currently sitting at #1 on the Texas Music Chart. A mid-tempo tune about a friend who's a little down and out and has encountered a few obstacles of late. "...But you tried so bad just to be good...hold your cards and you knock on wood...a little harder than anyone should...but hey that's just your style..."
"Ringing In The Year" is one of the best tracks on the collection and a personal favorite. Buoyed by a fantastic drum beat and fiddle, the song explores a crumbled relationship tied into the seasons. It's songs like these where Felker's voice shines the most, the emotion is felt in lyrics like "...Well won't you miss your whiskey in the wintertime, my dear...the way that I've been missing you this fall...and cheap champagne don't dull the pain of ringing in the year...wondering if you think of me at all..."
Another standout is "Long Drive Home" a plaintive, mid tempo ballad which describes the hardships of a traveling musician's love life. Meanwhile, "Fall Out Of Love" is an achingly sad ballad and delivers yet another stunning vocal performance from Felker. The emotion runs high asking the question "How do you fall out of love...how do you know when to run..." The song appears to have the singer asking the question throughout yet it's him who has walked out.
Two songs on the collection are re-releases of songs from the band's first album. "Bossier City" and "Easton And Main" have been revamped, the latter song being one of my personal TpT favorites. "Easton" has a slower tempo this time around and has a warmer, worn in feel to it. The steel is perfect and the fiddle more prominent, making this update a new classic.
The Turnpike Troubadours have delivered another outstanding collection of songs, adding to their already remarkable catalog. Count this as one of the best albums of the year.