Throwback Community Review – Brad Paisley’s “We Danced”

Welcome to Country Perspective’s newest weekly feature, Throwback Community Review! Many of you enjoyed a previous similar feature The Past Pulse of Mainstream Country Music and it was one of the main inspirations behind this feature. It’s quite simple: each week there will at least one of these. I will present some information about the song and of course a video to listen to it. You will then take to the comments delivering your thoughts and a grade, on a scale from 1-10. Your grades will be averaged to get the community grade for the song. The comments will be open for a few days before I close them to tabulate the average. Songs from any era of country music could go show up here and I’m open to suggestions for future featuring in this space.

Last Week’s Community Grade: Chris Young – “Aw Naw”2.4

This week we take a look at…

Artist: Brad Paisley

Song: “We Danced”

Released: June 26, 2000

Written by: Brad Paisley and Chris DuBois

Producer: Frank Rogers

Background: This was the fourth and last single from Brad Paisley’s debut album Who Needs Pictures. This song reached #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart after debuting at #58 on July 1. This was Paisley’s second #1 hit. It peaked at #29 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

See you in the comments with my own thoughts and grade!

 

Community Grade: 

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Review – Kip Moore’s “More Girls Like You”

You can preach about an artist’s potential all day long. But if they never show it, you start to get sick of hearing about them. That’s pretty much where I’m at with Kip Moore. His fans and supporters really love to talk up how he’s got so much talent and could be Eric Church if he just got one more hit or if his label would just let him do his thing. When will this happen? Because I feel like this is a years long story and nothing is changing when it comes to Kip Moore. His last album Wild Ones wasn’t even country, it was forgettable rock music. The best and most memorable song was on the deluxe edition of the album (“Backseat”). I was hoping that Moore would show all of this potential his fans crow about on his new single “More Girls Like You.” He doesn’t. Instead this sounds like a leftover from Wild Ones. It’s not country, it’s once again generic rock music. The lyrics are run-of-the-mill, as it’s a love song you’ve heard so many times already on country radio the last few years. Moore sings about wanting more girls like the one he’s fallen for and I’m immediately bored with this song. Moore tries to make this song sound more meaningful in his explanation before the lyric video starts as you below, but it’s simply not. This sounds like the kind of safe choice his label wants and I’m sure radio will blindly put into the top 20 at the very least (maybe even better with how soft the bottom half of the top 60 on the chart is right now). I can tell you if this song is any indication of the dominant sound on his next album I won’t be reviewing it. “More Girls Like You” is more uninspiring, lackluster fodder for country radio.

Grade: 3/10

 

Recommend? – Nope

Written by Kip Moore, Steven Olsen, David Garcia and Josh Miller

Album Review – Shinyribs’ ‘I Got Your Medicine’

Standing out above the crowd. It’s something I constantly stress about new and upcoming acts. The best way to get your music noticed and be remembered is to be different. Of course you should also be yourself. Shinyribs is a group that embodies both of these things. They are not a new group, but I had honestly not been aware of them. It was buzz that made me go check this group out and reading about them immediately intrigued me. The group is led by veteran musician Kevin Russell, who started the group in 2007. He self-describes the band’s sound as “country soul” and “swamp funk.” The band is known for its fun shows, where Russell frequently dances on stage and even features conga lines through the crowd. Certainly not a common aspect of a country show, but this made me immediately want to dig into Shinyribs’ new album I Got Your Medicine. And I’m sorry I didn’t find this group sooner because they are fantastic. They’re a boatload of fun (fun is a word you’ll see a lot through this review).

The album’s title track is a jovial, organ-driven track with a good dose of horns too. The instrumentation is instantly fun and catchy, a precursor to the rest of the album. “Don’t Leave It a Lie” really shows off Russell’s big, soulful voice, as well as the rich instrumentation once again. The throwback “I Gave Up All I Had” features one of the more serious moments of the album. It’s about a man whose hard luck when it comes to love comes to an end when he falls in love with a woman. This is thanks to him earning the love and respect of her four children and treating them as his own. It’s a real feel good song. The twangy “Trouble, Trouble” is an instant toe-tapper and will get you moving your feet along on the very first listen. I can imagine there’s a lot of dancing for this one at Shinyribs’ shows, but then again what song can’t you dance to on this album? You know you’re in for something fun with a song title like “Tub Gut Stomp & Red-Eyed Soul.” The piano play, guitars and the horns go together perfectly to create a real infectious sound. “I Knew It All Along” is a soulful love waltz that’s a great breather after some real energetic dance tracks.

One of my favorites on I Got Your Medicine is definitely “A Certain Girl.” It recalls a sound from the height of rock and roll in the 60s, as it’s your classic kiss and don’t tell song. An underrated aspect that makes this song so great are the drums, as real and live drums are so satisfying to hear after listening to the drum machine parade on mainstream radio. Shinyribs nail another waltz in “Nothing Takes the Place of You,” a song about a man realizing he can never replace the love he’s lost. The horn play on this is flat-out awesome and it’s just an all-around great song. “Hands On Your Hips” is probably the most fun breakup/cheating song I’ve heard. It’s about a man seeing his woman’s lips on another man’s foot and his hands on her hips. I have to say this is the first country song I’ve heard about foot sucking, but it’s oddly great. There is many fun moments on this album, but the most fun has to be “I Don’t Give a Shit.” It’s a love duet where both sides don’t give a shit about the other, as they say they’re a match made in hell. But deep down they belong together. It’s just so enjoyable and you’ll find yourself instantly singing along to it. Think of it as a modern, more light-hearted version of “You’re The Reason Our Kids are Ugly.”

“Ambulance” is another song where Shinyribs takes a usually grimmer subject and makes it enjoyable. It’s about a man waking up in an ambulance and wondering how the hell he got in it. Never has riding in an ambulance been so catchy. The album closes with another instant feel good song, “The Cross Is Boss.” It’s probably the most enjoyable spiritual/religious song I’ve heard in a while, as Russell sings of Jesus paying the ultimate cost and preaching happy thoughts. Instead of being preachy or falling into cliché territory, the song simply gives thanks and focuses on being positive, which is what I wish more of these songs did. I give Shinyribs a lot of credit for making a spiritual song not only enjoyable, but also appropriately uplifting.

Shinyribs’ I Got Your Medicine is one of those albums that just makes me happy. It’s really what music is all about: making you feel something. I wish there were more groups like Shinyribs who followed their vision and executed it with such tactfulness and honesty. Shinyribs doesn’t play by the “rules” of genres and fit into people’s contrived boxes. Instead they just create what they want and those who want to join the party are welcome to come along. The instrumentation and musicality of this band rank amongst the best. Shine on Shinyribs and never stop being you.

Grade: 9/10

 

Recommend? – Definitely!

Album Highlights: I Don’t Give a Shit, A Certain Girl, Tub Gut Stomp & Red-Eyed Soul, The Cross Is Boss, I Gave Up All I Had, Nothing Takes the Place of You

Bad Songs: None

Wallpaper: None


Review – Midland’s “Drinkin’ Problem”

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A traditional country band on a major label? Being pushed at radio? Yeah right. You’re pulling my leg. There’s no way this new group Midland is a traditional group, so let’s take a look at them. They’re a trio made up of Mark Wystrach (lead singer), Jess Carson (lead guitarist) and Cameron Duddy (bass player). Based out of Dripping Springs, Texas they came up with their name based off a Dwight Yoakam song. Some of their biggest influences they cite are Merle Haggard and Gary Stewart. Hold on a second. Stewart? Anyone who cites him as an influence must be the real deal (and good people to boot). After listening to lead single “Drinkin’ Problem” these guys prove they’re absolutely the real deal. This is straight up, stone cold, country music. It immediately takes me back to what country radio sounded like a couple of decades ago with all of the steel guitar. The song is your classic country theme of a guy at the bar drinking. Everyone is calling the situation a problem and something he needs to stop. But he assures it’s very much a solution and the real problem is heartbreak and a lot of thinking. Props to producer Shane McAnally for keeping the production restrained and letting the lyrics really drive this song. Wystrach’s delivers an all-around solid vocal performance. This is a group I can’t wait to hear more from. They’ve only released a self-titled EP so far and are currently working on a full album with McAnally and Josh Osborne. If that album is along the lines of “Drinkin’ Problem” and the rest of the EP, we’re in for a real treat. This is country music done right.

Grade: 8/10

 

Recommend? – Yes

Written by Mark Wystrach, Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne

Album Review – Rhiannon Giddens’ ‘Freedom Highway’

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Rhiannon Giddens is undoubtedly one of the most talented artists in Americana today. The front woman of the Carolina Chocolate Drops might be mistaken as new by fans introduced to her via her appearance on Eric Church’s current single “Kill A Word.” But I assure you she’s been making music for a while and is an artist I consider essential listening for Americana fans. Her voice is absolutely enthralling and impressed from my first listen of her debut album Tomorrow Is My Turn. That was an album of covers, so I was looking forward to hear an album of mostly original material, which is exactly what we get on her new album Freedom Highway. There was a reason I’ve had my eye on this album and man does it live up to the high expectations I had for it.

Slow, rhythmic drums play in the decidedly folk “At The Purchaser’s Option.” It’s a song about a woman raped by an owner at an early age, leading to her conceiving a child out of the assault. But she’s reminded that her baby can be taken at any moment at the purchaser’s option. It’s an incredibly powerful song that can take on multiple meanings. “The Angels Laid Him Away” is a cover of Mississippi John Hurt’s song. It’s a solemn song about death that shows off Giddens’ beautiful voice, as well as her great banjo picking. The bluegrass driven “Julie” is about a mistress and slave being in love, but the slave finding out later the mistress has sold her children. It’s another emotional story on an album full of them. Not to mention the instrumentation really sets the tone of the song and draws the listener in. Giddens does a fantastic job covering Richard Farina’s “Birmingham Sunday.” The song is about the 16th Street Baptist church in 1963 being bombed by members of the KKK that ended up killing four girls and 22 others.

It’s kind of hard to pick the best song on this incredibly deep album. But if I had to pick one it would be “Better Get It Right the First Time.” The funky sounding song is about a young African-American man mistakenly ending up at the wrong place and getting gunned down as he ran. It demonstrates how African-Americans are expected to walk a tight rope and get it right the first time, or there won’t be another time. Giddens’ nephew Justin Harrington comes in later in the song and lays down a rap to make an already excellent song better. The softer “We Could Fly” tells of flying home after death. It’s a very much a spiritual, meditative reflection of finding peace and freedom. Giddens dives into smooth and upbeat New Orleans style jazz on “Hey Bébé.” It’s probably the happiest moment on this album, as it’s an instant toe-tapper and the horn play is top-notch.

“Come Love Come” is about a slave couple on the run trying to outrun their captors and just trying to live their lives together. The song ends with the woman waiting for her man to arrive in Tennessee, hopeful he one day makes it to her. We get more jazzy goodness on “The Love We Almost Had.” It’s about love that almost was and leaving both sides wondering what if on the possible relationship. The forever fleeting love song is another standout on the album. The somber “Baby Boy” is about a mother vowing to always watch over her son. The song features some wonderful harmonies from Giddens and Lalenja Harrington that impress. The instrumental “Following the North Star” plays in the album’s title track, a Pops Staples song, to close out the record. Giddens duets with fellow Americana artist Bhi Bhiman on this energetic anthem about marching down the highway of freedom. Some lively horns appropriately play out the song and end the album with a real exclamation point.

To be honest I really don’t feel like my words do justice to this magnificent album. Rhiannon Giddens’ Freedom Highway is a flawless album from start to finish. The songwriting and themes explored on this album are incredibly powerful and graceful. Giddens voice is golden as always and I can’t believe how many different genres this album explores. There’s folk, bluegrass, blues, funk, hip-hop, soul and jazz. Each are executed wonderfully and show the true definition of Americana (a big credit goes to multi-instrumentalist Dirk Powell). This is absolutely one best albums you’ll hear all year and may even go down as the very best of 2017.

Grade: 10/10

 

Recommend? – YES!

Album Highlights: Better Get It Right the First Time, At The Purchaser’s Option, We Could Fly, Julie, The Love We Almost Had, Freedom Highway

Bad Songs: None

Wallpaper: None