YESTERDAY & ME
Red Raw and Authentic Blue Collar Country From a Texas Rose.
It’s funny how reviews of one artist or a style of music can spawn a score of others in the same vein; which explains whey I currently have a slew of edgy female Country singers beating a path to my door (not literally I hasten to add).
I’ve had a cursory listen to a few that could do with more gigs under their belt and a much tighter production; but neither are true of Texan Rose Miss Kayla Ray.
The album cover was pleasant enough and the accompanying letter (NOT a Press Release) only hinted at the box of delights I was about to discover.
I smiled at the title of opening song Rockport; but mercifully it’s not an ode to the footwear of choice for football hooligans in the 1980’s but a rather dark and sad tale, in the style of Bobbie Gentry about a woman whose husband dies and leaves her with debts, kids and a habit; eventually ‘asking the neighbours to watch the house/as she nailed the last board on.”
The kids get to watch her decline into a haze of drugs and booze, eventually ‘finding comfort in the needle/and Daddy’s snub nose .45’.
I did say it was dark; but wow; what a way to start a Modern Country album……and the accompanying guitars are nothing short of breath taking.
Bless her but Kayla Ray isn’t courting mainstream radio at all here; as her songs are all from the heart and the part of town your Mother warned you against.
Where to start? Once a Week Cheaters is the type of song that will stop you dead in your tracks; and many listening won;t be able to look their partner in the eye as Kayla and Colton Whitley sing verses to each other in a way George and Tammy patented 50 years ago.
Magnolias in the Springtime and Things Only Years Can Teach a Woman too, are Classic Country of the finest vintage, the type people think doesn’t exist any more; but it does with Kayla’s delightful warble sounding like it’s threatening to break into a full set of tears.
Kayla and band can rattle the roof when they want to too; with the raucous Hell Of a Day To Drink All Night being a rip-roaring raucous song about exactly what it says on the tin…..YEE-HAW!
I guess this is Honky-Tonk Music; but the likes of the dangerously sharp lyrics of I’m Still a Woman and Camel Blues are a hell of lot more authentic than a lot I hear most weeks which purports to be what is known today as Ameripolitan……or ‘the Future of Country Music’. These songs are red raw from a life well lived.
Then of course there is the ‘RMHQ Favourite Song’………..Pills. Whoa there; what a sizzling story! A jaunty melody and a singer with her tongue set firmly in her cheek that masks a very modern tale of women hooked on under the counter anti-depressants (and more); but it’s also a story that could have been written any time in the last 60 years!
Produced by Jason Eady, whom Kayla Ray used to Tour Manage this album certainly owes a lot to the likes of Bobbie Gentry, George and Tammy, even Loretta but I also hear Commander Cody and maybe even some Dixie Chicks in there too; but with such a distinctive voice and a marvelous way with writing and delivering a song; all of that is superfluous; as Kayla Ray’s second album has all of the hallmarks of a hit and launching her into the Big Leagues.
Released May 4th 2018