Lainey Wilson Sayin’ What I’m Thinkin’

Lainey Wilson
Sayin’ What I’m Thinkin’
BMG/BBR Music Group

Good Time Friday Night Southern Country Music

Louisiana native Lainey Wilson’s broad Southern Twang is the clearest take from the opening thumping rocky track of this new studio album, Neon Diamond.
Therein lies the essential core to how you’re probably going to respond to this – on the one hand, there’s an edgy vocal “authenticity” (whatever that is) that will appeal to some, but to some others it might (unfortunately) not fit their comfortable radio-friendly world-view, especially in non-US territories.
Style-wise, it’s further Southern Boogie on second track “Sunday best” – pure Roadhouse music to its core.
“Things a Man Oughta Know” nudges things down a few notches with some nicely picked rhythm mandolin in its straightforward challenging of gender stereotypes.
Next up. “Small Town, Girl” is a funky Blues shuffle through parochialism in an idealised America.
Oddly, things take a Euro-disco turn on the very radio friendly “LA,” which will likely appeal to the Nashville bachelorette crowd as they drive down Broadway in those open-sided party buses.
“Dirty Looks” takes a more reflective turn and style-wise would have fitted nicely on Taylor Swift’s eponymous first album, before it’s back to the singalong choruses of “Pipe;” which features idiolectic grammar and the best use of “Y’all” you’re likely to hear this year.
Lyrically it’s somewhat tongue-in-cheek and this cartoonish approach suits the good time feel of the song.
“Keeping Bars in Business” takes a more serious tack, although its observation that the shittiness and rollercoaster emotions of life is good news for the brewery industry, might not find approval in all quarters!
“Straight Up Sideways” boogies its way towards a more hedonistic carpe diem approach to the imbibing of alcohol, although she sings, “there’s more than one way to get straight up sideways” – other forms of inebriation are clearly available.
The acronym titled “WWDD” – “What Would Dolly Do?” is not actually very Parton-esque in musical style, favouring a mid-tempo almost Glitter Band kick drum rhythm; but offers a fair enough way of dealing with life’s issues.
Things change again with a return to mandolin on “Rolling Stone” and the more acoustic rootsy sound makes a good vehicle for Wilson’s voice and also features some lovely twangy Calexicoesque guitar on the fade.
The album ends on the title track Sayin’ What I’m Thinkin,’ with its gentle brushed train beat, taking things to a more confessional conclusion.
Sitting here in a semi-detached house in Stoke-on-Trent writing this review, Lainey Wilson’s life experience could hardly be further away from my own; and of her targets demographic; so at times that gulf is a bit much for me to leap, but there’s a lot to enjoy in the humour, vocal timbre and philosophical hedonism on display in this showcase album.

Review by Nick Barber

Released 19th February 2021


Rusty Ends & The HillBilly Hoodoo THE LAST OF THE BOOGIEMEN

Rusty Ends & The HillBilly Hoodoo

The Title and Name Says It All …….. Just Add Beer.

Back in my drinking days we would travel many miles on a Friday or Saturday night to see a band with an ‘interesting name’ (Bessie and the Zinc Buckets? The Baldy Babies? Talisman?) …… just for the Hell of it!
So; seeing the name Rusty Ends & The HillBilly Hoodoo meant I just had to put this straight into the car stereo as soon as I opened the envelope!
Well; my friend …….. or man Frank has done it again; unearthing a minor gem that was probably only ever destines for the merch table at club gigs within a 100 mile radius of Louisville and the Dixie Highway!
The opening chords to Track #1 Cheap Wine, will real you in like a big fat catfish’ and when Rusty Ends busts out of the speakers with his personal love song to the joys and perils of Cheap Wine it’s Friday Night …… somewhere!
Just like the Newcastle bands I mentioned earlier; you just know from that song on the swinging instrumental Unholy Roller which follows that this trio are not just consummate professionals who have ‘trod the boards’ for several decades; but sure know how to give you a damn good time.
When you actually get to listen to the shimmying Stiletto Heels and Fishnet Hose or Forgot To Say I Love You, you quickly realise that these cats know there way around a chord sequence and a melody; but know their demographic better than any damn manager in a suit sitting in an office somewhere on Music Row.
Then of course there are the Rocking and Rolling doozy’s; Rockabilly Boogie #1003, Cottonmouth Rock and Bob Wills Plays the Blues that will bend your senses until they combine to make you wish that you were somewhere dark, sleazy and full of beer; and make you want to dance with that slinky redhead in the corner.
Just like the best of Rock & Roll, Rockabilly and any other Honky Tonk music; Rusty Ends makes something very complicated sound very easy and simple ……. it isn’t! Check out the silky smooth instrumental Sinner’s Strut and the Doo-Wop ballad Let Me Cross Your Mind, then try to replicate any of the constituent parts in the comfort of your own home …. you can’t.
On such a well balanced album it’s been increasingly difficult to select a single Favourite Track, but I’m going for the heartbreaking We Love Our Way Through The Blues; which shivers, shimmy’s and shakes in a way that sounds like Sam Cooke singing a song written by Otis in his darkest of moods.
One other song that deserves a mention is the sleazy Midnight Angels; which sounds fabulous here; but will really come to life at the tail-end of a gig.
LAST OF THE BOOGIEMEN is the perfect title for this marvelous collection of mostly self-penned songs, with the band dipping in and out of musical styles that pull together to create a nicely balanced and spicy Musical Gumbo that makes for a good night on your stereo or a great night in a bar somewhere your Mother warned you against visiting.

Released April 30th 2020