Saturday, December 29, 2012

Tony Logue Band Album Review

I recently discovered the Tony Logue Band through Twitter and have been enjoying their "Reckless Kind" album.  Upon first listen, I knew I was going to dig this CD.  I don't want to compare voices but the vocal reminds me a bit of Jason Boland and The Stragglers; however, these guys rock a little harder with a grittier sound.  All for the better, as this is real, rocking country music.

The Tony Logue Band consists of singer/songwriter Tony Logue, guitarist Dylan Driver, Jason Munday on drums, and Kyle Robertson on bass.  Formed in 2008, the band released a seven song EP titled "Calm Before The Storm" in 2009.  "Reckless Kind" followed in January 2012.

The album kicks off with "Down The Line."  A hard-driving anthem for those of us from small towns who yearn to get out.  This song introduces the Tony Logue Band as a group of guys who love singing about real life, love, and being on the road.

"Hangin' On" is a delicious, twisted love tune about being led on in a relationship that is going nowhere.  It doesn't cover any new ground, but it is radio-friendly with the uptempo beat.

The title track is a mini-movie that plays out about a man who has always been wild and crazy.  Reckless driving, drinking, fighting, and losing a love.  The song flows along beautifully despite the sad subject matter, a ballad that begs to be listened to over and over.

One of my favorite songs from this collection is "Nowhere USA."  "...I wonder if I'll ever break these chains...and I wonder if I'll ever get away...well I can't stay right here, stuck in in Nowhere USA..."  This tune describes those of us dreamers who are always looking for something better, somewhere bigger, a place where we can find ourselves somewhere other than the middle of nowhere.

"Dues" is reminiscent of Waylon Jennings.  The road-weary musician singing about the hard road life and urgency of delivery makes this sound like a live show favorite.

Another one of my favorites is "Road I Chose."  I'm a sucker for road songs and this mid tempo tune captures the singer's love of freedom; however, you feel the regret in his voice and the lonely guitar closing the door on the past.

"Burn It To The Ground" is about burning all of the memories left behind by a bad lover.  It's a dark song, it's almost as if the songwriter had no remorse about losing everything, trying to forget everything.

Another painful song about love gone wrong is "Walk Away."  The band sings this with such a forlorn, unvarnished feeling.  It's a simple tune that you would expect to hear on mainstream country radio, but it has raw emotion that unfortunately is missing in today's robotic song machines.

"State Line" reminds me of another Kentucky artist, Chris Knight.  An uptempo song about being poor, working hard, moonshine, and living with what you have.  The band entwines their vocal through the lyrics and rocking instruments to portray a rough and tumble region long forgotten by the rest of the world.

Closing out the CD is "Times Have Changed," a bitter love composition set to an energetic instrumental.  Short, sweet, and bad ass; a fantastic way to finish up this 10 song set.

The Tony Logue Band is still a little wet behind the ears but make no mistake, this band from western Kentucky is making awesome music destined to be heard.  Do your ears a favor and check out this CD.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Music Year End Review

With 2012 coming to a close, I've decided to write about my favorite songs of the year.  So many excellent selections, mainly coming from the Red Dirt and Americana genre; but also a few mainstream country songs that deserve recognition.

After #1, I'm listing in no particular order because it's too difficult to choose the best song.

1.  "Pennsylvania Avenue" by Reckless Kelly - Defines the year in regards to the election and our future.

2.  "Even If It Breaks Your Heart" by Eli Young Band - Smash hit, amazing lyrics and soaring chorus.
3.  "In The Mean Time" by Chris Knight - Raw, real, another song that is defining 2012 in its lyrics regarding government, God, and the economy.
4.  "Merry Go 'Round" by Kacey Musgraves - Plaintive, simple, this is country music.
5.  "Give It A Try" by Reckless Kelly - I'm biased.  Damn good song.
6.  "Love Don't Let Me Down" by Hayes Carll & Caitlin Rose - The most lovely duet I've heard in a long time.

7.  "Fastest Girl In Town" by Miranda Lambert - Edgy, fun, makes me feel like hitting the road.
8.  "Alabama Pines" by Jason Isbell - Splendid, flowing, pure Americana.

9.  "Touch" by Josh Abbott Band - A lush Texas country ballad.
10. "Waitin' On The Sky" by Steve Earle - Americana at its best.
11. "Fly Over States" by Jason Aldean - I love to travel, I love America, I love the fly over states.
12. "Stronger" by Kelly Clarkson - The female anthem of the year.  I'm not a pop/rock fan but I love almost everything the future Mrs. Blackstock sings.
13. "Hobo" by The Departed - I'm a sucker for traveling songs.
14. "Hell's Gates On Fire" by Josh Abbott Band - 2012 has been a year of drought and massive wildfires across the West.  Written about the wildfires in Texas a couple of years ago, but so fitting for those of us in the Rocky Mountain West this year.
15. "How Far I'll Go" by Micky & The Motorcars - Again, I'm biased.  Pretty ballad by one of my favorite Roots Rockers.

The crop of great mainstream country songs continue to decline year after year, meanwhile, down in Texas they continue to churn out stellar song after song.

I know I've missed numerous great songs, if I have, leave me a message.

Here's to 2013!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Adventus Album Review

"Adventus" is the brand new second album from The Departed.  This is their first album of all new songs.  Coming off their first stellar release "This Is Indian Land," they had some pretty tall shoes to fill and have done a fantastic job of doing just so.  Unlike Indian Land, though, this album rocks from start to finish.  Their debut release was a tribute to the Red Dirt songwriters mainly from Oklahoma and leaned more country.  "Adventus" is a rock record with a few glints of country and a lot of bluesy soul.

The Departed is Cody Canada (guitars/vocals), Chris Doege (drums), Seth James (guitars/vocals), Steve Littleton (keyboards), and Jeremy Plato (bass guitar/vocals).  If their sound is a bit familiar to you, it's because of Cody Canada's distinctive voice you know from Cross Canadian Ragweed.  After Ragweed parted ways a few years ago, Cody and Jeremy, along with the other members, formed The Departed.  Along with Seth's bluesy vocals, this rounds out the sound of the band.

The album kicks off with the first single, "Worth The Fight," a hard-driving rocker that sails along at top speed, "What am I doing...same old place... must be something in my way...I gotta keep moving...I can't help myself...I wanna be someone somewhere else..."  One can take the lyrics and apply them to just about any situation, making this an awesome song for fighting for what you believe in.

Something different this go around is the fact that Cody and Seth split lead vocals, as well as one sung by Jeremy, and an instrumental track.  It's hard to choose a favorite sung by Seth, as they are all equally good, but I think "Hard To Find" and "Prayer For The Lonely" are my favorites.

"Flagpole" just plain rocks, it's one of those songs you listen to with your windows rolled down speeding down the road.  Meanwhile, the very next track slows it down.  "Cold Hard Fact" is reminiscent of Ragweed with the harmonica and Cody's laconic delivery of the lyrics.

My favorite song on this collection is "Hobo."  Perhaps it's because of my gypsy nature and love of travel, but this is a gem!  Lead vocals this time from Jeremy Plato, the tune takes the listener on a trip, traveling along at perfect speed, driven by a sweet harmonica and Jeremy's fine vocal, "...Feel the sun shining on my back, see what I can find down the line..."  I love every part of this song.

The very poignant "250,000 Things" is a song written about having a ton of things to do but yet only wanting to spend time with family.  A very sweet ode to families everywhere and in light of the recent Connecticut tragedy, this is especially appropriate.

The album closes out with an instrumental-only tune "Mark It Wrong" and "Sweet Lord."  The latter is a gospel-tinged song that will have you thinking you've been to church just by listening to an album.

Something about Roots Rock/Red Dirt/Americana/Texas music that thrills me is the fact that there is no set sound.  One song can be completely straight ahead country such as "250,000 Things" while "Flagpole" or "Set It Free" leans more rock.  With that said, this is a solid album of impressive songs, one of the best releases of the year.