Quite a Feelin’
Loose Music/Mama Bird Recording Co.
Country Music so laid back it’s almost horizontal
Some weeks I despair about what people want from music and my reviews. Last week I got drawn into two online arguments about the lack of ‘Real’ Country Music ‘these days’. I got the feeling (not for the first time) that some people stopped buying music in 1968 and take every opportunity to defecate on everything that came afterwards; unless it’s by Willie, Waylon or Dolly or someone else with grey hair.
Then I received this album. While it’s Barna Howard’s second album I’d not heard of him; and I doubt you have either, which is where my reviews come in.
Born and raised in a stereotypical Midwest town in Missouri Howard has obviously immersed himself in all of the great Country storytellers and practised and practised until he has developed his own sweet and heartfelt style of singing and writing. That ‘style’ stands up well alongside anything coming out of Country Music these days, (and a lot from the ‘olden golden days too) and I’m sure you will agree with me when you hear opening track Indiana Rose.
With only a couple of immaculately played acoustic instruments supporting him; Howard takes us on a journey through his life, loves, hopes and dreams in a small town.
Second track in Bitter Side of Blue is exactly what it ‘says on the tin’ and the perfect antidote for all those happy-clappy songs coming out of Nashville at the moment. I love it.
The guitars and mandolin on Notches on a Frame are exquisite and the song itself about an older man passing on ‘advice’ to a younger one is simplicity itself and very nearly beautiful.
That just about sums up Quite a Feelin’ – ‘Simplicity itself and very nearly beautiful’ as songs like Then and There also prove.
For me, this is an album that needs to be put on or in the player and listened to in one sitting; preferably on repeat on a long Summer evening. That said, my favourite song, Pull Us Back or Wind Us Up has all the hallmarks of a good old-fashioned single that’s destined for radio play; but those days are long gone.
If you still listen to Willie, Waylon or more likely Don Williams; or if you have just only discovered Country Music via Sturgill Simpson you will love Barna Howard.
Released UK on Loose Music May 18th
Released US on Mama Bird Recording Co May 19th