The Road That Drives Me
Hip Farm Chic Records
Superior Red-Brick Country Songs From The Very Heart of Nashville.
The album cover is pleasant enough, but wasn’t quite interesting enough to catch my attention until last weekend when we were going on a car trip that necessitated several albums as a soundtrack.
Mrs Magpie was allowed to choose the first album and selected this one. Four hours later it was still in the car stereo and we were both cheerfully singing along to Shantell Ogden’s delightful self-penned songs and it was only after a wrestling match that I was allowed to access it today as a reference for the review as it is now in her car!
A couple of months ago I mentioned that there aren’t enough ‘train songs’ in Country Music these days; and this album actually opens with The Truth About Trains; where Shantell compares the “cold heart steel” of a train to her current beaux. A classy and top quality song to open the album and I was already feeling foolish at letting it lie on the desk for so long.
Shantell certainly has ‘a way’ with words as she proves on the dark and moody Devil Comes Knockin’ and the atmospheric melody suits the punchy lyrics like a hand in a velvet glove.
Country Music has always come in a variety of formats and Shantell seamlessly glides between several of the commercial veins with consummate ease; with Different Sides of Mississippi conjuring up images of Bobbie Gentry and even early Dolly in the way she describes the slow erosion of a love affair. This is the type of heartbreaker that originally drew me to Country Music, and like the Train Song, we just don’t hear enough of these days.
In the best tradition Ms. Ogden pulls and prods ‘love’ and ‘relationships’ in each of the eight songs here; with Love Knew Better and Love Again both sounding like she could break down in tears at any moment; but being the ‘strong woman’ she is, she doesn’t.
It’s no surprise to find Mrs Magpie and I disagree on the ‘best song here’…..she went for Love Again; but as I know better in these matters the title goes to…….Feels Good To Get It Right which closes the album; and combines Back-porch Country with a a hefty slice of Rootsy Americana in the way she sings, bashes the guitar and nor forgetting the wailing harmonica that glues it all together.
Shantell has won several songwriting awards and also had songs featured on the Hart of Dixie TV series; and with this her fifth (?) album the future is certainly shining bright for at least more of the very same.
#PS Please, please, please let me discover that Shantell Ogden is Stan and Hilda’s Granddaughter!
Released September 13th 2016