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.