You’ll notice I wrote “overlooked” instead of forgettable this time–that’s because the majority of these fall into the category of us having nothing to say about the album rather than really being forgettable. some of them are, but writing “forgettable albums” would be somewhat misleading for most of them. Now, many of you know the drill–standout songs that truly did come off mediocre/forgettable albums, songs from albums we didn’t cover due to time constraints or out of deference to artists, or like most of today’s, songs from albums we just didn’t have much to say about but still thought some tracks deserved a feature. Today’s is quite an eclectic list, from traditional to Americana to pop country to Texas and Red dirt, so there should be something for everyone. As always, this feature arrives when there are enough songs sliding through the cracks to produce one.
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers: “Keep the Home Fires Burnin'”
Man, this song is absolutely great. I heard it, and I was so excited for their debut album Sidelong. Cool instrumentation, nice lyrics, and really catchy and fun despite it being a heartbreak song which I thoroughly enjoyed. I loved all the energy put into it–it’s not something you see every day in Americana/singer-songwriter albums. I thought it could be a really nice debut…and the whole rest of their album was just boring. It’s one of the few that does fit the forgettable albums label. I do think there was great, interesting instrumentation throughout it, but this song opens it amazingly, and then there’s just nothing. It would be extremely sad not to feature this, though, it’s a really good song, and I think they’ve got massive potential.
Dalton Domino: “Decent Man”
Dalton’s album Corners really doesn’t fit the “forgettable albums” label either, more just the “not for us” label; neither Bri nor I could really get behind it, but we’re heavily in the minority. Obviously a lot of people really enjoy it, and so I wanted to feature a song from it so that you all could enjoy it too, if you’re so inclined. It’s definitely unique, and credit to Dalton Domino for doing something cool and different in the Texas/Red Dirt scene, even if I’m not personally on board. I do quite enjoy this one.
Rascal Flatts: “Back To Us”
I went back and forth about whether or not to review this. This was an ironic album title for a project that was mostly mediocre and bland, with some God-awful moments and a couple of bright spots that really drove home the point that if Rascal Flatts actually tried to live up to that title, they could once again make good pop country. I never hated them, they just shouldn’t have started trend-chasing. Anyway, I could have probably written a lot about their album, but the title track has emerged as quite a good song, and I want to remind everyone what Rascal Flatts is capable of when they do it right, so I’m putting it here.
Jade Jackson: “Bridges”
This falls also into that “not for us” category. The music in this album is really very good though, and Jade does a nice job balancing between more country rock songs and more singer-songwriter stuff. It’s the latter, at least for me, which suits her voice more, and this song is a good example. I think Jade Jackson is probably the one that people are either going to love or hate–she’s got a very unique voice, and if vocals aren’t really a factor for you, you’ll probably love this album. But I’m not sure everyone will like her voice, and that’s ok. I want to stress, though, that of the albums I’ve listed here, this is probably the best one in my opinion, and it’s simply personal preference holding it back for me.
Jade Jackson: “Gilded
The title track is probably the best song from it, from those lyrics to the melody to that fiddle. It’s another more singer-songwriter type track, and as I say, Jade Jackson’s voice works more with these songs.
Evan Michaels Band: “Like it Should”
This one comes from an EP, Ain’t no Stopping This, and it’s really more just that we don’t generally cover EP’s for a number of reasons, so they are just held to higher standards. As for this particular EP, from the Evan Michaels Band of Stillwater, Oklahoma, I thought it showed potential, but they will need to do the very thing I credited Dalton domino for above–stand out in the ever-growing Texas/Red Dirt scene. That said, “Like it Should” stands out off the EP as a nice song about missing an ex and shows off that potential I mentioned.
Alison Krauss: “Till the Rivers All Run Dry”
Let’s end this feature in fine fashion, with two excellent covers of Don Williams classics turned in for the Gentle Giants album. Again, cover albums are just held to higher standards, and these two outshined the rest. This is an excellent love song; Don Williams’ version was great, and Krauss does a nice job interpreting it and making it her own.
Trisha Yearwood: “Maggie’s Dream”
Yes, the best for last. Honestly, this cover is better than the original. Maybe it cuts deeper with a woman singing the lines, or maybe you just believe Yearwood’s rendition more, but this story of Maggie, a waitress at a truck stop in Asheville who’s nearing fifty and longing to be married despite what she tells everyone around her, was good before and now even better. Honestly one of the best songs I’ve heard this year despite the fact it’s a cover.