Life as a music blogger can get pretty frustrating. A lot of bands and artists send you their stuff either through the mail, via email or Reviewshine. Music they’ve worked on, and spent a lot of money recording. Music is subjective, but to be honest – a lot of the stuff I get to hear is really not that good.
Thankfully I write about music in genres in and around alt. country and americana, where there are a lot more good bands than let’s say mainstream pop. But after sifting through 30-40-50 new albums, and finding utter crap – suddenly you stumble upon these gems just sitting there, waiting to be discovered.
And every year I do this, those gems are what keeps you going. Doing the dirty work of sorting through all the rubbish to find those good albums that you just can’t wait to tell other people about.That’s what brought me to Ninebullets the first time – when I was looking for new stuff to listen to, and that’s why I’m proud to be a part of the writers staff now – sharing my own finds with the world..And one of my favorite albums from this year was hidden between numerous “okay, but not great” submissions on Reviewshine. And now I’m passing them on to you.
They call themselves “The Far West”, and that’s really how they sound.
Like cowboys from a long lost outposts, somewhere from far out west, who has hooked up with the ghosts of Whiskeytown and Hank Williams.
What got me hooked was two things; the pedal-steel. I’m a sucker for a kickin’ pedal-steel, and the excellent Erik Kristiansen (Ryan Adams, Backsliders Roscoe’s Gang) is as good as they come.
The second was Lee Briantes vocal. He’s got that slightly hoarse, laid back voice that makes him able to do both rock’n’roll and traditional country in style. He wouldn’t have been out of place in Sun Studios in the 50s or at the Opry in that same time period.
Favorites on this album are many, the opening tune “Bitter, Drunk and Cold” first made me think “Is this a Whiskeytown song I haven’t heard?”, with it’s delicious pedal-steel and country sound. “Nothing Like You” brings a lot of rockabilly into the sound, and my favorite song on the album is the brilliant “The Best Company (Misery Ever Had)” about a relationship based on “this is just for fun” but turns out a bit more serious… for one of the parties at least.
Other songs worthy of mention are “Bound To Loose”, the sad country song “Where I Get Off” and “I’ll Never Drink Again”.
The album was recorded at the American Legion Memorial Hall in Enticina in California, and songs are written by singer Lee Briante and bass player Robert Black. The recording has been done mostly live, with few overdubs, which is very suitable to this sound and this album I might add.