Jason Boland & the Stragglers – Rancho Alto

January 01, 1970

(Thirty Tigers)




Yeehaw, y’all. No two words better sum up the spirit of
Jason Boland & the Stragglers, a no-nonsense, blue collar combo heavily invested
in heartland sensibilities. With ample doses of both hard luck and honkytonk —
not to mention the guiding hand of producer/multi-instrumentalist Lloyd Maines
— the band revives rather than reinvents in their bow to authenticity.


Boland’s rough hewn vocals have a gruff, everyman appeal,
suggesting the sound of a true survivor flush with hard bitten tales and a dust
bowl sensibility. Boland wraps himself in the guise of an everyday working man afflicted
with the feeling of being shunted outside the mainstream.  He sums up that stance in songs like the
miner’s lament “Down Here in the Hole;” an ode to America’s essential populist
poet, “Woody’s Road;” and “Farmer’s Luck,” a heartfelt narrative that recalls
his grandparents’ struggle to prevent the government from confiscating their


Framed by fiddles and steel guitar, this is the real deal,
from its deadpan ballads to the down home serenades, the sort of thing that would
make Waylon, Willie, Hank and Johnny nod in mutual agreement. Their eighth and
best effort to date, Rancho Alto offers
Boland and band a rarified place to roost.


DOWNLOAD: “Farmer’s Luck,” “Down Here in the Hole,” “Woody’s Road” LEE ZIMMERMAN

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