Taking the Alternative Out of Alt. Country.
Some time ago I wearily complained that I no longer received ‘Country albums’ then along came Sturgill Simpson and the doors have now been unceremoniously kicked wide open and my postie seems to bring a couple every week!
This is another album that had me questioning why I’d not heard of Keegan McInroe before. Uncouth Pilgrims is his fourth solo album and one that had my toes tapping from the get go.
Obviously a title like Country Music Outlaws is going to pique my interest and when Keegan’s warm growl purrs ‘Started off my day like Willie would/My life is free and open’ on top of a lilting Country backdrop that features a sweet pedal-steel and a wailing harmonica; what’s not to like?
While not the type of ‘Country Music’ that will ever trouble the CMA Committee songs like Lumberjack Blues and Coffee & Whitey are just the type of Country songs we like around these here parts at RMHQ.
McInroe has a voice not unlike a young Kristofferson and he can write a quality song just like the bearded one did back in his Glory Days; have a listen to Give Me The Rain and/or Verona to hear timeless and beautiful songs that could come from Kris’s pen; but didn’t.
What sets Keegan McInroe apart from most of the current Country Pretenders is the subtle way he includes minute detail into his stories; Begona and the title track Uncouth Pilgrims are prime examples; and he has a lovely way with his melodies too.
While fitting in perfectly, McInroe tips his Cowboy hat in the direction of Dr. John on the darkly troubled Nikolina; managing to make it sound like something you would hear in a Quentin Tarantino bar scene.
UNCOUTH PILGRIMS is a great album to play in the car on a sunny day; and while Mrs. Magpie resolutely disagrees my favourite song here is the lewd and punchy I Got Trouble; most likely because of the chorus….. “I want to ride you like a John Deere Tractor!”
Most songs here are self-penned, but the inclusion of Lindsay Hightower’s introspective Resolutions and some neat Western Swing in the shape of Michele Bombatomica’s Flower Song For Barefoot Dancers round things off rather nicely.
Released May 27th 2016