It’s as if country rock never went away
After absentmindedly leaving this disc in the downstairs stereo I caught my wife enjoying it; so I felt obliged to comment and she replied that ‘It has tunes and proper songs; unlike the normal stuff you play!’ Ouch.
All of which made me listen intently; because I’d been baffled by listening to each band member showcasing their work with the backing of a quartet of excellent musicians who provide glorious harmonies, tunes and melodies.
The album opens with the rocking title track; sung and written by piano player Ben Arnold who sounds uncannily like a tuneful Joe Cocker and after hearing his other two songs on the album, had me Googling his own back catalogue.
Of the five songwriters involved in US Rails I only knew Tom Gillam and I was pleased to hear his songs Devil in My Hands; a classic Country story about a man with his ‘finger on the trigger of a loaded gun’ and the hot and sassy Love Reactionwhich his voice was just made for.
The three slowest songs that are included are all by guitarist and Hammond Organ player Joseph Parsons and while I loveMost of It and Heart Sings True, it was probably they that had me initially confused as they don’t really fit in; until you ‘get’ the concept, then they make perfect sense (and, again I was forced to Google his back catalogue and subsequently bought a CD).
Although it’s not made clear in the sleeve-notes; I presume it is drummer Matt Muir who gets to sing Follow The Lightswhich wouldn’t be out of place on a Best Of West Coast Country music.
Which all brings me to Bass player Scott Bricklin who supplies three songs with For Now skirting along the edges of Folk music and of the other two Drag Me Down is one of the highlights of the album; reminding me of the Flying Burritos, only with Levon Helm singing, if that makes sense.
HEARTBREAK SUPERSTAR is well worth checking out if you still like the Classic West Coast sounds we all grew up listening to.
Blue Rose BLU DP0604
UK release August 19th