Silver Lake 66
A Country Roller-Coaster To Make You Dance One Minute and Cry The Next.
I was talking to a friend over the weekend about music; and Country Music in particular as I presumed he was a ‘Country Fan’; but it turned out he only likes Rockabilly and Honky-Tonk, as they are the ‘real deal.’
The conversation faded away soon afterwards.
Why am I telling you this? Because that all means his blinkered approach means he’s destined to miss out on double-excellent albums like this; which combine most everything from the Country gamut and makes it sizzle and shine for ‘real deal’ music lovers like me and you.
Comprising Maria Francis, Jeff Overbo and a bunch of friends Silver Lake 66 get the party started with Jeff taking the lead on the rip-roaring Blue Earth Country; if I didn’t know any better this could be a great lost Waylon track; and certainly something destined for the soundtrack of the next Dukes of Hazard film; and that applies to a few other songs here too; especially Maria’s awesome heartbreaker Faded Tattoo; which will have plenty of ladies out there thinking “That’s about me; that is!”
The couple appear to be have been around for a long time; in various entities making ends meet and honing their craft; as you can tell when you hear Overbo’s tired drawl as the story in Like a River unravels; and it’s a not too dissimilar feeling with the bittersweet Check Out To Cash, which features some beautifully rich harmonies and pedal-steel too.
I’m not really sure I will file this under ‘Americana’ as the Press Release suggests; as these songs and stories are as down-home Country as Country gets for me. Listen to the jaunty title track Ragged Heart and tell me Dolly Parton wouldn’t crawl over broken glass to sing this on her next album; or how surprised you’d be if the poignantly pitiful Tender turned up on an album by the Dixie Chicks or Pistol Annies?
Even on the high-energy songs, the stories are always well worth straining your ears for; but it’s on the heartbreakers that this couple really excel; with my Favourite Song here being a heartbreaker of the finest order; Broken Dreams and Cigarettes (and bittersweet lies) is so good, that it will bring tears to your eyes; but make your heat swell with pride and hope too.
The album closes with the couple not just duetting, but singing to each other without realising we are listening in; which makes Such a Mess not just a rather fine love song; but the perfect way to close the book.
Just like life itself, Silver Lake 66 really do take you on a roller-coaster of emotions here; with the ability to make you want to dance your socks off one minute; then cry your eyes out the next ……. and if that ain’t what makes a great Country Album then I’m in the wrong job.
Released October 4th 2019