To call me a Chuck Ragan fan, you’d pretty much have to stretch the limits of elasticity of the word to it’s breaking point. A couple of years ago, while my friends were buzzing like meth heads about an upcoming Chuck Ragan show, I’d never even heard of the man. Their references to Hot Water Music also fell on deaf ears, as I’d never heard of them either. Then, as the initial Revival Tour was announced, I looked into the album Feast or Famine only to find myself underwhelmed and that’s why I’m as surprised as anyone else to be making the following statement.

I can not find a single fault with Chuck Ragan’s newest effort, Gold Country. Since it’s release, Gold Country has been one of my favorite cds on my iPod, and my attachment to it seems to be growing with every listen. The improvement from Feast or Famine to Gold Country is not something to be glossed over. Feast or Famine, to me, felt like the standard punk frontman putting out his obligatory folk album, as was the rage those days, but Gold Country is something else all together. Gold Country is, at is core, a country album. There are still some punk ethos bubbling through lyrically, but even this is cast in a much more mature light. Now I’m not gonna pretend to know anything about Chuck Ragan, but you can tell he spent some time working on these songs and the result is a instrument-heavy, passionate album that should make everyone (non-fans like myself included) sit up and take notice.

So I guess this bears the question, am I now a Chuck Ragan fan? For now I’ll just say I am a Gold Country fan. It’s a great album, possibly my favorite this year. There something about its passion that keeps pulling me back in and it certainly seems to be standing the test of time and the constant onslaught of new music that my ears endure. I guess that if the growth seen from Feast or Famine to the Austin Lucas collaboration, Bristle Ridge, to Gold Country continues, then the answer, quite simply, will be yes. There will be plenty of time for those conversations in years to come, though. For now, let’s just enjoy the fuck out of this album.

Chuck Ragan – Rotterdam
Chuck Ragan – Get Em All Home
Chuck Ragan – Don’t Say A Word

Chuck Ragan’s Official Site, Chuck Ragan on myspace, Buy Gold Country

11 thoughts on “CHUCK RAGAN – GOLD COUNTRY”

  1. Man you are gonna have it rough when you have to do the top 10 at the end of the year. Especially when you have to pick for the #1 spot.

  2. Thats what I figured you might have to pull off…Its been a good year for music..and thats a good thing.

  3. Sadly, I have to disagree. Whereas Feast or Famine was a logical progression from Hot Water Music into his solo career, I just can’t get into his more recent country releases. Feast or Famine followed in the footsteps of Rumbleseat really well. It was a departure from the loud hardcore, but maintained the stripped-down 3-chord aesthetic. I’ve been listening to a ton of country these days, including Austin Lucas, and The Takers have been the soundtrack to summer, but as much as I wanted to like Bristle Ridge, and as much as I tried to get into Gold Country, I just can’t get into it.

  4. I’ll start by saying I’m a big Hot Water Music fan. I couldn’t get into Feast or Famine I thought it was just ok, but when I first listened to Gold Country my first words were HOLY SHIT what a great album. The passion in Chucks voice will give you chills at a live show. Also great backing vocals from Austin. Everyone should check out The Revival Tour this year you won’t regret it. This album squeaks by 1372 Overton Park to be my album of the year.

  5. Put up a user vote for the year as well as your choice.

    I was a mid-range HWM music fan. I really enjoyed Feast or Famine and liked Bristle Ridge even more. My opinion of Bristle Ridge was tainted by my love for Austin Lucas and his families music. Gold Country is by far his best and it shows at his live shows on the current tour. Don’t Say a Word will stop you in your tracks.

  6. I’m seriously blown away. What a great album!
    Hot Water Music is only familiar to me by name, never heard their music and, though I must’ve heard some Chuck Ragan here and there, I wasn’t really familiar with his music, either. I’ve been playing Gold Country now 3 times in a row and don’t have anough of it, yet.

    Thanks for introducing me to yet another great songwriter!

  7. I just ordered it on sweet vinyl.
    This blog is ruining me financially…
    But here’s to good music over a positive balance.

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