The Upshot: Red Dirt outlaw country and barroom rock from talented Okies.
While the reputation for country music continues to be banged to shit thanks to the inexplicable rise of “Bro Country” (check out my hot chick; my cool truck; ‘Murica! Fuck yeah!’), the sub-sub country music genres, like Red Dirt, continue to thrive with some of the most consistently satisfying records Oklahoma and Texas-based bands have been turning out in years. Add the self-titled release from the Turnpike Troubadours to that list.
The record gets off to a false start of sorts with the slow-paced, somewhat tepid opener “The Bird Hunters,” but quickly picks up and churns through one great boot stomp after the next (“Down Here,” in particular, is certain to be a crowd sing-along, encore staple for years to come). Their eponymous fourth effort is easily their best to date with songs that vacillate from more traditional Outlaw Country to raucous, straight ahead Barroom Rock.
While the topics on this record may not be wildly unique (love, loss and optimism surface again and again throughout the dozen tracks here) the poetry in the lyrics is what sets these guys apart from most; lyrically they have always been strong, but they’re consistently brilliant on this album.
The Turnpike Troubadours may not be selling out stadiums like the bro cowboys in Nashville, but they are certainly turning in songs that will have just as much appeal decades from now.
DOWNLOAD: “The Mercury,” “Down Here” and “A Little Song”