Chris Landry TWO NINETY THREE

Chris Landry and The Seasick Mommas
Two Ninety Three
Self-Release?

Intoxicating Left-field Indie and Alt. Country Hybrid.

While the band’s name The Seasick Mommas doesn’t sound the greatest in the world …. it caught my attention, so maybe it’s a lot more creative than I at first thought.
Apart from this being Chris Landry’s second album and he comes from Ottawa, there’s not a lot more to tell, as Landry himself says “Let the music speak for itself.”
So, we will.
Opening track You Don’t Call Me, is a delightfully sloppy Alt. Country heartbreaker in the style of someone like The Waco Brothers; but nearly a week after receiving the album ……. I’ve ascertained that Chris Landry certainly has a voice and style all of his very own.
Like many other Alt. Country bands over the years, Landry and friends take a heady mix of Classic Country Rock, Honky Tonk and add a touch of Indie Rock swagger to keep the party going; and then they add their very own musical joie de vivre.
While Landry has a bit of a ‘deadpan’ voice, he’s not afraid to use melodies to beef up his articulate songs. Feelin’ It Tonight and the Uber-sad I Cried For Days are prime examples; and the judicious use of pedal-steel on both, as well as others set these songs apart from the pack that is currently filling my in-box.
For a second album; there’s a whole lot going on here, with Landry and his Momma’s showing they can get ‘deep and meaningful’ too; the tragically thoughtful Why Couldn’t You Love Me is as left of centre as traditional Country gets and Everything Ends Tonight takes us the type of dark journey Nick Cave might attempt if he ever recorded in Nashville or Austin.
Speaking of ‘left of centre’, which is an area I love to explore; Landry drops in two musical time-bombs that at first just seem darn odd; but repeated plays of both After The Flood and the Texicana influenced Carpark Graveyard are starting to unravel two wonderful songs; that I may easily have missed.
On such a smorgasbord of musical riches I’ve honed in on two songs to decide between as my Favourite Song; Voice In an Empty Room is a less obvious contender, as it’s a bit of a ‘claustrophobic love song;’ but somehow it’s actually grown on me; and the other, which is the actual Winner is No Intentions; possibly the most ‘easy on the ear’ song here; but Landry’s story isn’t as simple as you’d first imagine …… which again, is something I really like.
Just in case you are interested; and if you’ve got this far I presume you are ….. the band are  Chris Landry singing and plays guitar, Stuart Rutherford pedal steel, Jim McDowell keys, Kerri Carisse and KJ Thomas sing backing vocals, Steve Donnelly bass and Chris Buttera plays drums.
For once, I didn’t guess that this band were Canadian; as they have a Universal sound that will find them filling bars, clubs and Honky-Tonks as far afield as Toronto, London, Hamburg and Nashville itself.

Released November 29th 2019
https://theseasickmommas.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Musician-Band/Chris-Landry-and-the-Seasick-Mommas-312831585839524/



Lou Reed and Kris Kristofferson ‘The BOTTOM LINE ARCHIVE SERIES

Lou Reed and Kris Kristofferson
‘The Bottom Line Archive Series: In Their Own Words: With Vin Scelsa’
The Bottom Line

Warts n All Interview and Performances from 1994.

When I first heard about a Lou Reed-Kris Kristofferson release I was half expecting some bizarre unearthed collaboration recorded in some back-alley New York recording studio. Alas – but perhaps fortunately, going on Mr Reed’s past patchy record of collaborative work, that is not the case here – it’s a radio show recorded at the Bottom Line in NY with both Lou and Kris chatting with Vin Scelsa, who of course doesn’t skirt around the awkward questions. In doing so, he gets some lovely dry humour from both the interviewees, but most hilariously from Lou Reed who could have easily had an alternative career as a straight man in stand-up comedy.
Musically, this is recorded warts and all in the interview situation. Neither performer is renowned for the mellifluous beauty of their voices but here they’re both in tune and in good spirits, resulting in several spirited performances.
It’s lovely to hear the obvious respect they have for each other too – Kristofferson enthusing about “Strawman” and Reed jokingly admonishing Kristofferson for his harmonica playing. Musically there’s a lot in common too, both in the narrative delivery of both artists and simple arrangements that frame the songs.
To these ears, the most fascinating performances are at the end – Kristofferson’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire” which suits his voice and delivery perfectly and Reed’s take on “Tracks of my Tears” which is pretty much exactly as you’d expect it to sound if someone asked you to do an impression of Lou Reed doing Motown – glorious!
All in all, this release is one for the completists – it’s the kind of recording that has probably been circulating in bootleg circles for years, but its sonic quality and historical interest means that the committed musical fan should at least give it one listen, even though all but the most hardcore fans might not return to it too often.

Courtesy our favourite Rock Photographer, Nick Barber
Released December 13th 2019
http://bottomlinearchive.com/

Ruth Patterson (Holy Moly & the Crackers I'D GIVE IT ALL (single)

Ruth Patterson (Holy Moly & the Crackers
I’D GIVE IT ALL
Pink Lane Records

The very first time I saw Holy Moly and The Crackers everything revolved around frontman and singer Conrad Bird as a) he is a live wire and b) has one helluva voice; but there was also ‘something’ about the pretty lass with the violin next to him, who supplied harmonies and also the odd verse here or there.
Now; as the years have subsequently gone by the world (and Conrad) has finally caught up with my foresight; and Ruth Patterson, for it was she, is now, more or less the Front Person and Conrad has taken a tiny step backwards; to let her revel in the spotlight, as he pulls the strings like a benevolent puppet-master.
The band’s latest album, Take A Bite predominantly revolves around Ruth’s dynamic and IMHO ‘amazing voice’ and the band’s overall sound is all the better for it (sorry Conrad; but you know I’m right #wink)
Which finally brings us to this beautiful new single from Ruth herself, albeit with the band in tow; and I can only imagine it’s under her moniker as it is so very different from anything the band do as a unit it may confuse the average fan.
In some ways, nay ….. most every way, this song is the most ‘Grown Up’ song I’ve heard from the combo. I love their whizz bang live shows, and the album certainly has ‘staying power’; but this song is in a whole new stratosphere.
Sultry and almost Divaesque, Ruth digs deep into her Soul on a heart crushing love song that is seeped in so much windswept strings and piano you will pull up your collar to protect yourself from the Cool Chills it produces.
Not only is this a stunning song that really emphasise what a stunning voice and range this young lady has; but the accompanying video is well worth 4 minutes (or more!) of your time too.
For the uninitiated, there are hints of a mellow Dusty here as well as Carmel McCourt (for the cool and hip readers) and even that Nick Cave/Kylie Murder Ballad …… but first and foremost, this is Ruth Patterson from Holy Moly and the Crackers …… don’t you forget it!

Released 15th November 2019
https://www.holymolyandthecrackers.com/
BUT IT HERE :- https://smarturl.it/idgiveitallredux

Jay Gordon’s Blues Venom SLIDE RULES!

Jay Gordon’s Blues Venom
SLIDE RULES!
Shuttle Music/City Hall Records

Scintillating and Almost Time Travelling 21st Century Blues.

As I’ve said many times before, had I been idling through the racks of a Record Shop and stumbled across this disc; the band’s name and cover art would have caught my interest and made me ask the assistant if I could hear a couple of tracks.
Opening track Dripping Blues wouldn’t have been into it’s fourth bar before I would be forcing hard cash into their hand!
Yowza, Yowza, Yowza …… Jay Gordon can not just make his guitar gently weep, but scream like the Devil is in every single note.
The Blues, be it the distinctive Chicago style like this or of the Blues Rock variety can sound like it is a fairly simple formula, but it takes someone like Jay Gordon to make make such complex and emotional music sound that way …….. as Six String Outlaw and Lucky 13 prove beyond any doubt.
It’ll come as no surprise to existing fans or newcomers like me, that there are a couple of Classic songs tucked away here; but in the finest tradition Jay Gordon and the aptly named Blues Venom turn Elmore James’s Stranger Blues inside out, and somehow make it into a 21st Century Schizoid stomper, then Robert Johnson’s Travelin’ Riverside Blues is played on a National Steel at a frantic pace that I could hardly keep up with …… and both will have you sweating and and your heart racing; as you listen in the comfort of your own home; so God help us when these are played live!
Unlike many of his peers Jay Gordon ain’t no ‘one trick pony’ and would be nothing without the rhythmic drumming of Dwane Hathorn and the funky-ass bass of Sharon Butcher …… but he’s a Rocker at heart; but when you hear his Fire and Brimstone fuelled opening speech that introduces the scorching Pure Grain Alcohol, then when he delivers the words alongside some sublime guitar ….. you will sit back and wonder why these guys aren’t filling stadiums around the world.
The album title Slide Rules!, pretty much does tell you what to expect, but what it doesn’t hint at is what a dexterous guitar player AND songwriter Jay Gordon is; which is why selecting a Favourite Song has been so difficult.
The epic Dockery’s Plantation comes in at 7 and 1/2 minutes long, with some blistering solos in it, but never a note or second is wasted; and VooDoo Boogie is actually as scary as the title suggests with Gordon fearlessly entering Rory Gallagher territory and coming out unscathed.
But the Official RMHQ Favourite song is the next song on the album; El Diablo Blues which is a helluva song; sung in the style of AC/DC’s Bon Scott and featuring some of the meanest and scariest guitar playing I’ve heard in many a year …… and I’ve heard a lot!
What a bloody great find Jay Gordon’s Blues Venom has been this week; and I can’t wait for a stormy Winter’s night when I can blast some of these rockers out of the cars speakers.

Released 15th November 2019
http://www.bluesvenom.com/


The False Poets FALSE POETS

The False Poets
The False Poets
Nice Mind Records

Red Raw British Rhythm n Blues For the New Nuggets Generation.

If you remember a couple of weeks ago I reviewed an album of Irish Folk inspired music by a band called The Dicey Rileys, from Chester le Street; which is a brisk walk on a Summer’s day from my own home.
Happy with the outcome, Chris Riley has got back in touch with the debut album from his other Beat Combo; The False Poets …… purveyors of red hot R&B …… that’s ‘proper British R&B’ in the style of the Yardbirds and The Dr Feelgood’; or for our American friends ‘Nuggets era garage bands’ NOT the hippitty-hoppitty stuff on the wireless today. btw.
Apart from Chris’s handwritten letter outlining the *heartbreaking reasons for the album not getting recorded in either 2012 or 2018, when the band first got together and later re-assembled; I had no idea what to exactly expect; so ………. the raw energy from opening track Stick or Twist (metaphorically) blew my socks right off!
Hank B Marvinesque geetar, a hook that will reel you in like a salmon and a chorus that will probably only resonate with card players from the North East has had me dancing in the office at least twice.
To all intents and purposes this is the type of music I grew up seeing in the mid 70’s across the North East and I know spawned a zillion bands in London during the Pub Rock boom too ……. what’s not to like about frantic Bluesy love songs like She Was My Woman and A Girl I Know? Absolutely nothing; that’s what!
It’s no real issue for me, but the current resurgence in Chicago Blues across the UK seems to have a lot of bands replicating the Great and the Mighty note for note; whereas The False Poets take that template, filter it through the 60’s Blues Boom and then through Riley’s distinctive singing style and ‘that’ Hank Marvin style guitar playing really seperate them from the herd; plus they write their own songs!
What songs they are too ……. Call The Doctor is a full on foot to the floor race with the Devil, Stomper is exactly what it says on the label and The Mad Machine is a floor filler, if ever I’ve heard one ……. shake that money maker!
There’s also a lovely commercial aspect to quite a few of these songs too; which might appeal to Tom Robinson or local legend Nicky Robb, who shouldn’t be afraid to play songs like You Are The Way or the low down groove of What’s It All About?
Then there is Tell Tale Heart which just about shades it from Stick or Twist as my Favourite Song here; great lyrics, heart crushing story and a tune that the Flamin’ Groovies would have been proud to call their own.
:0
An album hasn’t made me this excited since I first heard The Strypes 10 years ago; and I can’t wait to see The False Poets play live in somewhere hot n sweaty sometime soon.
Remember where you read it first!

Released November 2019

https://www.facebook.com/TheFalsePoets/
https://nicemindrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-false-poets

Scott Walker THE ROCK HOUSE PROJECT

Scott Walker
THE ROCK HOUSE PROJECT
Self-Release

Real Deal Texas Bar-Room Friday Night Country That Rocks.

No …… not ‘that’ Scott Walker, this is the Americana Scott Walker; but yes it’s an easy mistake for anyone to make.
I did! The initial e-mail asked if I’d be interested in Scott Walker’s new album.
Of course I said yes; as the British Avant-Garde maverick hadn’t long died; so a posthumous release wasn’t too far-fetched an idea.
The next e-mail contained a link to a ‘stream’; which is not my favourite medium; so a CD was posted off. A week later I received a note saying I owed £13.60 in ‘unpaid takes’ for a package from S Walker in the USA. Had it been anyone else I wouldn’t have paid up …… then imagine my disappointment when I saw that this wasn’t who I thought it was and was actually a man in a straw cowboy hat!
But; £13.60 in the hole; I looked at and thought, “this had better be bloody good!”
Well, I’m still typing so make your own mind up.
Straddling the Alt. and Country barbed wire fence with grace, opening track Fourteen Days is a droll stroll in the dessert, with Walker pining for his love who has been gone for the Fourteen Days of the song title; and the melancholic mood is well worthy of someone like Dave Alvin or maybe The Old 97’s in their heyday.
Deja Vu follows and the mood takes us into the Border Country with a slow burning Tex-Mex melody supplemented by some divine fiddle playing from Kabina Wilson nearly had a cactus growing out of the stereo.
I have no idea at this stage how famous ‘this’ Scott Walker is in his native State; but listening to the worn and tattered Country Rock of Glide Dyna Glide and the Texan certified Twang of Brother Tumbleweed, Just Passing Through and the lovely Lights of Amarillo make me want to see this band on a Friday night in a dive bar somewhere seedy in the Lone Star State; or even in London on one of the stages at Country to Country …… because trust me; this is as authentic as Country music gets.
It’s a reasonable argument that Scott doesn’t tread to far away from the staple Country themes of loving, losing, drinking, driving and sometimes all four at the same time; but he can really tell a fine tale and isn’t afraid to use a melody to reel the listener in.
Which brings me to two rather special songs here that are worth my entrance fee on their own.
Doing The Right Thing Wrong, is the type of Country that I’ve loved since the 1970’s British Pub Rock boom; and Walker’s feisty guitar, Clayton Jones’s rinky dink piano playing coupled to John Simmons’s wailing harmonica create a sound that is fundamentally ….. The Real Deal!
That’s not even my Favourite Song! That title goes to the truck driving ballad I-35, which conjures up the same romantic Americana imagery that Little Feet and Commander Cody did when I was a long haired young man, barely out of school. It’s a timeless theme; and one that Scott Walker and Band put their combined hearts and soul into every single word and note.
Yup …… it looks like my money was well spent after all; and it looks like ‘this’ Scott Walker is destined to become as popular as ‘the other’ Scott Walker at RMHQ in the coming months.

Released October 25th 2019
http://scottwalkermusic.com/

New Riders of The Purple Sage THANKSGIVING IN NEW YORK CITY

New Riders of The Purple Sage
THANKSGIVING IN NEW YORK CITY
Omnivore Records

Back To The Future For Some Superbly Timeless Psychedelic Country Rock.

One of the great joys of this ‘reviewing malarkey’ is discovering new music every week; and that doesn’t just mean lonely singer-songwriters or bar bands releasing their self-financed debuts; but also finally discovering acts like this whose name would cropped up in ‘Import ads’ in the back of NME and Melody Maker every week of my teenage years.
Before last Sunday I’d genuinely never heard a note from New Riders of The Purple Sage in my entire life; so it was with barely bated excitement that I placed it in the cd player.
Recorded at the Academy of Music, NYC on Thanksgiving 1972 this live recording (3 x LP’S or 2 x CD’s) has lain dormant ever since (although I wouldn’t be surprised if bootlegs have been available).
I had absolutely no idea what to expect, so was delighted when opening track Leaving On Her Mind was a melodiously loose Country Rocker in the style of the Burritos; plenty of pedal-steel (which was still a mythical instrument in Co. Durham at that time) and actual harmonies ….. wow ……. I only came to this type of music in the 80’s so can’t imagine how exciting it must have been here at the birth of a musical genre.
As was their won’t way back when, bands were prone to having eclectic set lists, mixing their own songs with some from their peers and adding in a few oldies just for the Hell of it; and New Riders’ were no different; which gives us an odd but fun version of Hello Mary Lou which is a bit of a doozy actually; and later there’s a neat Americana drenched interpretation of Honky Tonk Women which has aged better than it may have deserved; and the night closes with an 11 minute plus jam based around Willie and the Hand Jive; which I remember being a staple of many local bands to me.
In between Kitty Wells’ She’s No Angel is played absolutely straight as a dye and Long Black Veil is as good a version as I think I’ve ever heard; with John Dawson’s voice being perfect for this desperately maudlin song, and I just love this version of the Humble Pie Classic I Don’t Need No Doctor too.
For me the biggest surprises of the pleasant variety, have come from their own songs; especially Henry and Last Lonely Eagle which are both songs that would have made various playlists and compilations I’ve made over the years; and All I Ever Wanted stands up there with the finest songs from this generation; IMHO.
Baring in mind the band’s ‘history’ another huge surprise for me is how they’ve managed to cram in 22 songs into a set that lasts just over an hour and a half. I own several Live double albums from this period that only have 7 or 8 self-indulgent tracks on them; but here every track is almost perfectly constructed to get as much out of the few minutes allotted to them …… these guys are professionals through and through.
With the benefit of hindsight ‘Groupie’ was ‘of it’s time’, but forgive me as it’s a crackling little Rock Song that I rather like.
There are a whole bunch of songs that I can choose from as my Favourite Song here; Truck Drivin’ Man is a belter that I know I’m going to revisit on some playlist or other next Summer; while Portland Woman and Louisiana Lady show what a sharp and insightful songwriter John Dawson is/was; and the melody’s both have a timeless element to them as well.
But one particular song has outshone the others for me; Contract (by bass player Dave Torbert) who also sings it; is the type of 70’s Country Rock that is now the template for what we now call Alt. Country and sounds as thrilling today as it must have been to those kids nearly half a century ago; therefore I decree that Contract is the RMHQ Favourite Song on this fabulous album.
With so much great music in this style, swilling around these days I don’t know if many young fans will be attracted here; but if like me you’ve not heard New Riders of The Purple Sage ……. this just may be the perfect starting point; if only to hear where all your current favourite bands got their influences from.

Released November 23rd 2019
http://omnivorerecordings.com/shop/thanksgiving-in-nyc/

Edd Donovan and the Wandering Moles GUARDIANS OF OUR TIME

Edd Donovan and the Wandering Moles
GUARDIANS OF OUR TIME
Self-Release

Enlightened, Articulate and Often Challenging Folk Songs From the Heart.

Edd got in touch regarding this album a few weeks ago following our review of Danny Schmidt’s recent release, which he had bought on the strength of our words.
So courteously I listened to the attached couple of tracks and ten minutes later sent an e-mail saying ‘I couldn’t wait to here the full album.’
Opening track When The Day Begins starts with the tweeting of the bird on the cover art, then neatly dissolves into a beautifully layered song that somehow sounds a bit like Nick Drake singing a Lloyd Cole song. Without being in the least bit pretentious, it’s very eloquent and articulate; in the way Lloyd Cole is on his records (which we still love at RMHQ).
I don’t know either of Edd’s previous albums, but he tells me that this is a more DIY effort in his home, using the barest of technology. If that is true, he has a career as a Producer/Engineer in the offing if the songwriting thing doesn’t work out.
His songs and stories are quite clever, bordering on the intellectual; which is a rarity these days; but they still manage to be accessible for plebs like me.
I suppose that this album will more than likely fall into the Folk Category, as that’s the golden thread that weaves Meetings Adjourned, Whatever It Is and of course Folk Man Blues together, but in 2019 that moniker is something of a misnomer as Donovan dips into many different musical pots to paint his pictures with words.
Hearing Bowerbird or Eva and Seen By The Road evoked memories of hearing Seth Lakeman or John Martyn for the very first time; such is the way Donovan makes a complex story and chord progression sound very easy on the ear, while still bamboozling the brain.
Finally reading the accompanying Press Release this morning; without actually ‘giving the game away’ the two songs that I liked the best suddenly unravelled like a Dead Sea scroll.
Edd Donovan continues working as a Mental Health Social Worker to supplement his burgeoning music career; he is also a ‘Political Activist’ which he very subtly slides into his songs; hence the magnificent title track Guardians Of Our Time now makes complete sense; with his subtle prose cleverly turning this humble and melodic song into an Anthem of Our Times; which brings me to my Favourite Song here JC, which is evidently not about the Son of God, nor a friend or relation of that name. No; it may or may not be about the Leader of the Left and Champion of the Poor; Mr Jeremy Corbyn …… not that he’s mentioned by name; but nudge, nudge, wink, wink ….. I’m pretty sure it is; and if it is my world is a whole lot better because this song exists.
As well as doing almost everything himself, Edd has enlisted the beautiful voice of Emma Parker to harmonise with on several songs ; and while some of the instruments aren’t always instantly recognisable; but Chris Cundy (Timbre Timber/Cold Specks) provides Bass Clarinet (?); but that matters not a jot; as this is all about the songs themselves and Edd Donovan’s overall sound.; and it’s a fascinatingly beautiful sound at the end of the day.

Released November 19th 2019
https://www.edddonovan.co.uk/

Judy Collins & Jonas Fjeld WINTER STORIES

Judy Collins & Jonas Fjeld
WINTER STORIES
Wildflower Records/Cleopatra Records

A Magical Folk Music Marriage Made in Heaven.

2019 celebrates Judy Collins being one of Folk Music’s finest interpreter of song for 60 years ……… yes, you read that correctly SIXTY YEARS!
In that time she’s recorded some of the genres most succesful songs and albums, plus not just received an Academy Award nomination but in 2017 her rendition of Amazing Grace was preserved in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or artistically significant” !
Not too shabby, eh?
Even without such knowledge any release of hers was going to be of interest here at RMHQ.
Her latest release is alongside the dark baritone of Norwegian Folk Singer Jonas Fjeld; and the combination of voices is a marriage made in Musical Heaven; and then of course, the Gusts Chatham County Line add their own magic dust in the background too.
The beautiful collaboration between the duo with Chatham County Line; North West Passage opens the record in the most gloriously haunting fashion; with the combined harmonies shrouding the individual lead singers voices in a shimmering veil; and when John Teer’s stark fiddle playing enters the frey, you know you are listening to a very special song indeed.
In these days of never ending sub-categories in music genres; WINTER STORIES is unashamedly American Folk Music from start to finish; dabbling with modern contemporary phrasing and melody that Fjeld brings to Angels in The Snow and Frozen North; but even then never really straying far from the 1960’s template we all grew up with.
The collection of songs really is exemplary with individual songs like Sweet Refrain and the title track itself, Winter Stories being perfect for snuggling up with a hot chocolate and a good book on any dark night between November and the end of February.
Chatham County Line make another appearance up front, on the jaunty and frenetic Bury Me With My Guitar, which is a Bluegrass tune at heart and it’s story could easily be adapted into just about any other singers repertoire; as it will resonate with musicians of all ilks across the universe.
While the complete album is simply charming from start to finish and Jonas Fjeld’s voice has been a fabulous discovery for me; I simply have to select something by Judy herself at the helm as my Favourite Track.
There are two songs in particular that I can hardly slide a cigarette paper between; The River is as cool as it is charming, and the inclusion of piano and mandolin alongside the melancholic vocal performance will gain it many fans in it’s own rite; but The Blizzard, which closes the record is almost as epic as Folk Music ever gets; and the way this song has been constructed around Ms. Collins and some near Classical piano and strings, make the images that are created very cinematic to this particular listener …… so the accolade goes to The Blizzard.
I find it staggering to think that Judy’s voice is still so crystal clear in her xxth year (a gentleman never divulges a lady’s age!); but it is and will be there to hear without the aid of a safety net when she tours in early 2020.

Released November 15th 2019
http://www.judycollins.com/

Jason Aldean 9

Jason Aldean
9
BMG/BBR Music Group

A Bit More Than Just Three Chords and The Truth

Is it so wrong to call Modern/Nu Country a ‘Guilty Pleasure’? I know I’m a snob; but still have an occasional passion for ‘Hat Act’ Country in all it’s pomp and glory …….. you know, Tim McGraw, Toby Keith and Keith Urban …. that sort of thing.
Obviously RMHQ isn’t normally on the radar for acts of that humongous size; but we couldn’t have been any happier when Jason Aldean’s new album arrived two weeks ago……. come on guys and girls, how often do we get to review anything by someone who already has a ‘certified quadruple-platinum’ album to their name!
Sadly, actual ‘listening time’ has been in short supply, so this has lain on the desk waving at me, trying to catch my attention until earlier today.
When we played 9 the first time the crashing guitars that open Tattoos and Tequila startled Mrs. Magpie; but they really appealed to me ….. and the clever use of “Tattoos to remember/ Tequila to forget” as the chorus on a feisty break-up song is as Country as Country gets for me!
With so many modern Country songs coming off a conveyor belt these days; this song alone has restored my Faith in the Church of Hank.
While not in anyways a ‘concept album’, as the Press Release says, all of these songs intertwine in a way similar to many or most relationships, with Aldean singing about relationship highs and lows with a heartfelt ‘inner knowledge.’
As the adage goes, Country is all about Three Chords and The Truth; and while he uses more than 3 chords; Aldean certainly places ‘Truth’ at the heart of all of these songs; with Some Things You Don’t Forget and Dirt We Were Raised on both having universal appeal; yet 100% US of A at their core.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with using age old themes in songs; when the end result is the fabulous Keeping it Small Town or the sad as sad can be ballad I Came Here to Drink.
Even though I’m a total music snob, born and bred in NE England I love songs that conjure up Americana imagery like Camouflage Hat and Talk About Georgia ……. fire up the Bronco …… we’re going to Asda with these as our soundtrack!
It shouldn’t be a surprise to find someone as succesful as Jason Aldean that he can select a clever and interesting song; but I think the commercial end of the industry can be undervalued; but have a good listen to Cowboy Killer and Champagne Town and you will hear great use of imagery from a master storyteller.
With so many goodies to choose from I’m narrowing it down to three for the accolade of RMHQ Favourite Song; track #2 Blame It n You has a hook you can hang your Stetson; but it’s the actual lyrics and story that sets this song apart from the herd that I occasionally hear on Country Hits radio; and what we used to call a Power-Ballad, The Same Way, with it’s delicate melody and cinematic imagery is a modern Juke-Box classic; but I Don’t Drink Anymore (but I don’t drink any less) is probably the overall winner here as it’s a bonafide masculine tearjerker; but I may change my mind tomorrow.
With so many Music Row Country albums being ‘painted by numbers’ 9 by Jason Aldean sounds fresh, exciting and dare I say it much more than just “Three Chords….. and The Truth”

Released November 22nd 2019
https://www.jasonaldean.com/
https://store.jasonaldean.com/collections/jason-aldean-9