Tag Archives: Joe Nichols

Memorable Songs From Overlooked Albums: August 22nd

Man, these have been really piling up with my two trips and slight break from writing, so although I haven’t written one in awhile, you can probably expect another one quite soon. For new people, here we have songs from forgettable/mediocre albums, songs from albums we didn’t cover due to time constraints and/or out of deference to artists, and songs from projects we didn’t have much to say about but still felt some tracks deserved a feature. These appear when there are enough songs sliding through the cracks to make one, and as I say, you probably won’t have long to wait before the next one.

Carrie Elkin: “New Mexico”

This Carrie Elkin record, The Penny Collector, goes in that category of not giving me anything worthwhile to say about it. It’s been out for awhile, and I’ve given it several listens, and it isn’t that I don’t enjoy it–in fact, I think she’s been underrated considerably–but my review of the album would be uneven. It’s very dark and moody, having been inspired mostly by her father’s passing. I advise people who lean toward darker material to check this one out, but I’m not getting into the whole thing. This song is a lovely ode to Carrie’s homeland and a nice opener for the whole thing, and you can see where she drew the inspiration for this record.

Carrie Elkin: “Always on the Run”

This is one of the more interesting tracks in terms of production here. It’s kind of hard to describe really; the song is reflecting on how in life, we’re constantly running, and the lyrics and the melody add a hurried feel to everything that enhances it.

Carrie Elkin: “Live Wire”

This is easily my favorite of the album, as it’s a little more lighthearted, and the production is a little more interesting. If there were more production moments like this one, it would have really added a lot to this record. Having said that, it doesn’t really fit in with the tone of the album, and that’s what makes it a great song for me. I’ve heard Carrie Elkin’s voice compared to that of Linda Ronstadt, and it’s never more apparent than on this song. As a huge fan of Ronstadt, this is easily the standout of the album for me, even if it might seem out of place on this particular record. I can’t argue with the brilliant lyric, :life half empty is a life half spilled” either. If you liked the other two, you may not enjoy this one; equally, if you found the other two too dark or boring, check this one out.

Whiskey Shivers: “Cluck ol’ Hen”

And now we switch gears from a dark, depressing affair to a punk/bluegrass album that arguably has too much energy for its own good. I’ll give it this; Some Part of Something has stellar instrumentation throughout. But this album is just a little too crazy to be taken all that seriously. This one is a nice interpretation of an old bluegrass tune.

Whiskey Shivers: “Fuck You”

Yep, not much to say about this, the song speaks for itself. It’s a final farewell to an ex who, according to the singer, “always asked me for a song.” Be careful what you wish for I guess.

Whiskey Shivers: “Liquor, Beer, Wine, and Ice”

Here it is: the proof that you can make a small-town partying song and actually have it be catchy and yes, intelligent. Nice, fun song.

Jim Lauderdale: “Sweet Time”

For any of you who know me well, you know that I have a propensity to listen to new albums on a Friday or Saturday afternoon in the background while I play online poker. Why? Because it gives me something to do other than just stare into the distance contemplating the album, and also because if a record can hold my attention while that attention is divided, I know it’s worth giving more listens and possibly a review. Admittedly, sometimes I get distracted, and I have to give some records more listens to make sure I gave them a fair chance. This usually happens with deeper albums, but these require several listens anyway. All that to say, after the first listen to this London Southern album, I thought it was my fault that I couldn’t remember a single thing after the opener. No, it’s simply the fact that this is, hands down, the most boring record released in 2017. So, here’s the opener, which is really quite a nice song. But don’t use it as a stepping stone to possibly check out an album I didn’t review because I promise you, after that, there is nothing noteworthy here whatsoever.

Joe Nichols: “I’d Sing About You”

I intended to review this album actually, but time got in the way. If I did review Never Gets Old, it would probably get a 5, maybe a 6. Lots of mediocre material on the record, nothing awful except “Tall Boys” which is truly atrocious. But there are also some highlights, and even though this is probably the one most people know since it’s been released as a single, it deserves to be featured here as a bright spot on Joe’s album.

Joe Nichols: “WE All Carry Something”

Probably my favorite on this record. Joe Nichols’ sincerity shines through this song as he sings about real-life situations and the burdens that we all must endure. This would have been a radio hit ten years ago.

Joe Nichols: “Billy Graham’s Bible”

That sincerity I mentioned before really carries this track, as Nicols sings about being made for someone just like Billy Graham’s Bible and Willie Nelson’s guitar. It’s a shame this album didn’t have more like this one and “We All Carry Something” because tracks like these really show the potential in Joe Nichols. Who knows if he’ll ever live up to it on a whole album, but at least we can hope for a few songs like this sprinkled throughout his records.

Album Review: George Strait–Cold Beer Conversation

Rating: 8/10

After arguably the biggest career in country music, King George retired from touring in 2014, taking a well-deserved break and earning numerous awards in the farewell process. However, many fans mistakenly believed George Strait was done altogether–but George never claimed this, insisting he would indeed go on making albums. Enter
Cold Beer Conversation, announced Tuesday in one of King George’s most badass moves to date. Unfortunately for fans, this album can only be purchased on iTunes or by entering Walmart…so is the exclusivity worth it?

Without a doubt.

The album opens with “It Was Love,” a pop country song which is my least favorite on the entire album.
The lyrics are too generic, featuring two teenage kids in love and even referencing a Friday night football game in the opening line. However, unlike most of these songs, this one does tell more of a story, and it is actually pop country. It has grown on me after a couple listens, and I think it will continue to do so. The title track, “Cold Beer Conversation,” is a lighthearted track about two guys sharing a beer and talking–they talk about their women, the past, etc. The instrumentation helps this song a lot, giving it an easygoing feel that matches the tone of the conversational lyrics. The album’s lead single, “Let it Go,” is another fun song about not letting life bring you down. It’s a nice little beachy song that will get stuck in your head quickly. The fun songs continue with “Goin’ Goin’ Gone,” an upbeat drinking song. Mainstream artists, take note–this guy has a job and leaves on Friday to drink. He admits that “come Monday mornin’ I just might be overdrawn”–in short, life is not just one big party without consequences–but at this point, he doesn’t really care because it’s Friday night, and he’s had a hard week. This is a real person drinking, not a frat boy.

The album turns serious for “Something Going Down,” and all I can say is, Luke Bryan, this is how to sing “Strip it Down.” I am so glad this was not overproduced, as George’s vocals really shine here like nowhere else on the album. As you can see by the reference to “Strip it Down,” this narrator is seducing a woman–only these lyrics are focused on the woman, as opposed to virtually everything else in the room. I cannot say much else–you will have to hear it, and I will post it. “Take me to Texas” is a nice ode to Strait’s home state; Strait sings, “when I go, take me to Texas.” The fiddle is appropriately featured in this song, and Strait sings with a lot of heart, which adds to it. “It Takes All Kinds,” co-written by Strait, is a straight-up western swing song. The premise is that “it takes all kinds” to make the world work–but here’s the thing: I believe this is directed at modern country stars. Evidence of this includes lines like “some wear a backwards baseball cap, if that’s you, I’m cool with that, Me, I’m more a cowboy hat, it takes all kinds.” In light of this, I can’t help but smile at the line, “Some got a beer they like to drink, some got a thought they like to think, some got a chain with a few more links, it takes all kinds.”

“Stop and Drink” is another fun drinking song, with the premise “Little stuff like that will make you stop and drink.” The “little stuff” is pretty much everything in life from the heat to Wall Street. Mainstream artists, once again, take note–this is a fun, country drinking song. “Everything I See” is a song about the memories of a lost loved one; the reference to the “sunny day in June” makes one think this was written about George’s father. This song is certainly relatable, but it is overproduced and loses a lot of the emotion that was probably originally there. “Rock Paper Scissors” is next–here, the rock is the ring, the paper is the note, and the scissors were used to “cut his face out of every picture”; she then left the rock, paper, and scissors on the table. This is just an upbeat, catchy song. However, I could do without the line about him blowing up her phone because that line has been done to death.

“Wish You Well” sees Strait in Mexico, drinking away a lost love. He’s “six Mexican beers between ‘wish you were here’ and ‘wish you wel’.” It’s another song that can get stuck in your head like “Let it Go” and is helped by the instrumentation. Next is “Cheaper Than a Shrink,” which was apparently a Joe Nichols cut previously. This is one of my favorites; here, Strait explains that he drinks because “it’s cheaper than a shrink. You don’t have to think. You just pour and drink.” This, this is a country song if I ever heard one, and the instrumentation and Strait’s signature twang really add to this. It seems like George was really enjoying himself when he recorded this. The album concludes with “Even When I Can’t Feel It,” a song featuring nice piano and fiddle in which Strait says that he believes in God “even when He’s silent” and love “even when I can’t feel it.” It’s a nice way to close the album.

Overall, this is another good album from the King of Country. I am excited to see writing credits from Strait, as this is relatively new territory for him. I do think there were moments of overproduction, particularly on “Everything I See.” But for those hesitant to go to iTunes or Walmart, it is definitely worth it. I will post the iTunes link here, but you can only listen if indeed you have iTunes. So I will also post more videos than usual so that you can hear more songs.

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