Just The Way That I Am.
Real Deal Country of the Highest Quality.
I don’t like to think I ‘live in the past’; but if you watch the CMA, CMT or AMA awards, you won’t know what Country Music is any more; unless you think Heavy Rock with a pedal-steel or Pop Music with a banjo is a suitable flag bearer for what we listened to when Hank, George, Loretta and Dolly were providing the soundtrack to our collective youth.
Then along comes a little beauty like Dave Insley’s latest offering, ‘Just The Way That I Am.’
Even the title of the opening track, Drinking Wine and Staring at the Phone, will have the average Country Music fan parting with their hard cash; and then when they hear Dave’s deep baritone and traditional two-step band in full flow on this Honky Tonk tearjerker they will think it money well spent.
OK, the template Dave Insley uses isn’t ground breaking; but what he does he does extremely well and with Call Me If You Ever Change Your Mind; he takes a Twang induced love song, and really makes it fizz in a way Willie Nelson did before he discovered weed.
Insley even dips his toe into the Alt. Pond with Arizona Territory 1904; with a song reminiscent of Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt; and would have made a great song for Johnny Cash’s American series.
No spring chicken, this is only Dave Insley’s fourth album; and I can only presume with songs like No One to Come Home To and We’re All Here Because of You; he comes from the ‘quality over quantity’ school of songwriting; as he can really tell an eloquent story in a very simple way; always holding your attention until the very final note.
Not for the first time recently; I’m stuck for a ‘best song’ accolade as two stick out from a very strong pack.
The title track Just The Way I Am, is as good a sad and bleak love song as I’ve heard in years, with lines like ‘Lord knows I know I’m not perfect/I’m a fool but I’m a man/And I hope that you’ll take me/Just the way that I am.’ Played out to a slow waltz like tune; it will be the perfect way to end a night in a club….or indeed the bedroom.
Probably the winner will actually be; Dead and Gone; because who among us won’t love a Country song that opens with a trumpet voluntary and rat-a tat drums, then Insley singing ‘My wife and my girlfriend met at my funeral/Well I guess they got along famously/I heard they got a lot in common!’
Tongue in cheek and as sad as music gets; this is the type of music I will take to the grave; in just the same way that the protagonist in the song did!
With a healthy reputation touring the Clubs and Honky-Tonks of the South Western states and a residency every Saturday night at the White Horse Saloon in Austin; he probably doesn’t fancy becoming an ‘overnight sensation’ but with this type of music being increasingly popular in Europe; with this superb album he just could be!
Released April 29th 2016