Album Reviews

Country Westerns: Country Westerns -“filled with tales accepting the misgivings of life”

With their debut album, the Nashville trio shine some light during these dark times.

Those fans wanting your Eleventh Day Dream fix shouldn’t look further than the Country Westerns.

A band cobbled together via singer and guitarist, Joel Plunkett (Gentleman Jesse, The Weight), bassist, Sabrina Rush (State Champion), and drummer, Brian Kotzur (Silver Jews), the early incarnations of Country Westerns were indeed overseen by a certain David Berman, lord rest his soul.

And Country Westerns has a certain Silver Jews quality, too. Clever wordplay and equally luminous melodic earworms.

Steve Von Till: No Wilderness Deep Enough – “connecting the dots between existentialism and a dream state”

Produced by Matt Sweeney (Chavez), Country Westerns is like a nice pair of slippers after a shit day at work. Your greatest ally while sitting around the house sinking a few beers and ruminating on the day gone by.

Even during these times where some of us a battening down the hatches in lockdown by ourselves, Country Westerns belt out ditties that still manage to put a smile on your face. So, with that, it is indeed an album for these times.

Country Westerns - Country Westerns

Not so much bathed in Springsteen hysteria, however Country Westerns is anthemic in a rowdy bar kind of way, although fans of The Boss will certainly get their toe tapping to the bulky rhythms this trio presents.

Anytime is a raucous opener with Plunkett‘s whiskey soaked vocals and frayed riff-a-rolla. It’s Not Easy follows and is the kind of song the Gaslight Anthem would want to write.

The junkyard rumble of I’m Not Ready would make even the meekest patron in a bar hit the dance floor in ecstasy – a cut that possesses a similar vibrancy to that of The Replacements and, in more recent times, The Holy Steady.

The Flaming Lips: American Head – “like a comedown from the summer of love”

Then there’s T.V. Light – hands down the album highlight, with rhythms that swerve and melodies which project the certain reality of life. A snapshot of shabby dwellings in sleepy towns being illuminated by late night infomercials, T.V. Light focuses on the tattered imagery of working class grit that runs all the way through the album.

Country Westerns is filled with tales accepting the misgivings of life (“Storms forming under stark skies/Ain’t no place to get along” – It’s Not Easy) and (“I’m just a gentle sole/when you push me I’m willing to roll/I don’t want to fight anymore” – Gentle Soul).

The music swings. The riffs are ragged. It’s free as fuck and sounds and feels just like music should be and in these times. Country Westerns is an essential part of the artistic patchwork we identify with in 2020.

Country Westerns is out now via Fat Possum.

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

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