With the passing of Cross Canadian Ragweed, Turnpike Troubadours have picked up the Red Dirt banner and taken it in a different direction. Combining Country, Cajun, and Folk with a jam band sensibility, the Troubadours craft stories fitting for their name. Evan Felker’s vocals are smooth and calming. R.C. Edwards’ bass and Giovanni Carnuccio’s carry the songs on their solid rhythm while Ryan Engleman’s guitar and Kyle Nix’s fiddle alternate as the lead.
Their second CD, Diamonds and Gasoline, has been out for nearly a year now and is gaining traction outside their Oklahoma/Texas base. While it may be unconventional to some to review such an “old” release, these songs were made for this time of year. It’s the perfect soundtrack to kicking back on the front porch on a lazy summer Saturday afternoon, cracking open a bottle of your favorite brew and grilling brats on the kettle grill. Musically, the songs are written as much as around the fiddle and accordion as they are guitars. The lyrics look back as much as they look ahead, whether its lost love (“7&7”), lost friends (“1968”), or a lost chance to make things right (“The Funeral”).
It’s difficult to pick out tracks that specifically stand out in an album of solidly written stories, but “Every Girl”, “7&7”, “Kansas City Southern”, and the Troubadours cover of John Hartford’s “Long Hot Summer Days” are highly recommended.
Their songs may not jump out a grab you, but when your goal for the day is to make sure the hammock stays in the shade, Turnpike Troubadours are the band you want in your IPod.