When Megan and I began discussing this feature and how it’d be all about albums released prior to the birth of Country Exclusive, I knew I had to do an article on Turnpike Troubadours’ breakout album, Diamonds & Gasoline. The band have continued to gain in popularity and musical genius, but I figured why not talk about the album that really got things going for them? Plus, it’s where I first discovered the Turnpike Troubadours, and it’s become one of my favorite albums.
Release Date: 2010
Style: Red Dirt, Country
Who Might Like This Album: Fans of Jason Boland & the Stragglers, fans of traditional country music with lots of fiddle
Standout Tracks: “Every Girl,” “7 & 7,” “The Funeral,” “Diamonds and Gasoline,: “Long Hot Summer Day”
Reflections: If you haven’t heard this album, by the end of the first two songs, you’ll know what you’re in for. Lots of fiddle, some awesome guitar, and the thing that makes Turnpike Troubadours just so much more, outstanding lyrics. Evan Felker is an amazing songwriter, weaving alliteration and deeper thinking into songs that are also catchy, and that display the talent these guys have. You’d think “7 & 7” was just another drinking song, but it’s actually not. It’s based around the line “I had no clue I’d be the boy who your mama warned you about”. Stuff like that just shows off the greatness of the lyrics. “Every Girl” should have been a hit song outside of the Red Dirt and Texas country movement, because it’s just so upbeat and catchy, plus that fiddle play! Who can forget that fiddle? The title track proves that the band can do acoustic songs very well, too. All in all, this was an amazing release. The band hadn’t been together very long when this album came out, and I just find it pretty astounding that the songwriting was so deep, the playing so skilled, and how well it all came together. It’s a fantastic listen all the way through. In short, if you haven’t heard this album, you’re missing out on some amazing country music. If you’ve liked the newer albums by the Turnpike Troubadours and haven’t given this one a listen, what are you waiting for?
Buy the Album
Welcome to our first Random Reflections, a new weekly feature in which Brianna or I will discuss an album–or perhaps a song on occasion, but more than likely an album–from country’s past that we would recommend. These are not reviews; anything we would put here at all would probably be an 8 or higher anyway. There are no rules other than that the music being discussed has to have been released prior to June 2015, the birth month of Country Exclusive. We are not going through “classic” albums, and there’s no rule on style or era either, these are just simply a way for us to highlight more music, and for us and our readers to discover older material and become more acquainted with country music’s history. With all that said, I’d like to reflect on one of the first country records I ever owned, the debut album by the Dixie Chicks.
Release Date: January 27, 1998
Style: mostly traditional country
Who Might Like This Album: traditional country fans, fans of Maddie & Tae, maybe fans of Pistol Annies or other all-female groups
Standout Tracks: “I’ll Take Care of You,” “Am I the Only One,” “Tonight, the Heartache’s on Me,” “You Were Mine,” “Loving arms,” “Once You’ve Loved somebody”
Reflections: Well, if you haven’t gotten into the Dixie Chicks before now, you definitely should. Fly is probably more well-known, and Home is certainly more critically acclaimed, but this debut started it all for them, and it’s one of the first country albums I ever fell in love with. The harmonies of the Dixie Chicks are unmatched; the only thing I’ve ever heard come close are those of Maddie & Tae, and that’s a beautiful thing. The lyrics in some of these tracks are outstanding, and it’s traditional pretty much throughout. They weren’t afraid to explore sensitive themes either–“I’ll Take Care of You,” one of the highlights of their short career, deals with a same-sex relationship, and that’s something not seen often in country. This album was made at a time when good songwriting mattered and when it wasn’t so hard for women to be successful in the mainstream. Country might be much different today if the Dixie Chicks hadn’t been blacklisted, but that’s another story. For now, go check out this album and their other work.
Listen to Album
Let us know what you think about this feature, and share your own reflections in the comments below!