This album is another huge win for BR549. I’m so glad I didn’t totally give up on these guys. I was a bit concerned this wouldn’t be very good, given that one of the band’s two lead vocalists, Gary Bennett, left after This Is BR549. So this is Chuck Mead’s baby now, and I think for the first time they don’t have a cover anywhere on the record.
The band’s pretty much completely matured by this point and have come into their own voice. With no covers and not much more relying on quirky content, they’re much more confident here, and rightly so. In fact, their worst stuff is when they try to get too cute, like “She’s Talking To Someone (She Ain’t Talking To Me).”
The songs’ protagonists aren’t usually losers, either. Some of them have hard-luck stories (“Movin’ The Country”, “Tangled In The Pines”), but they’re always told with full self-awareness of circumstances and the situation and no self-pity. The best songs are when the characters boldly and proudly state their place in the world, a tactic usually employed more successfully by women in country. Examples of this are “Ain’t Got Time” (“I ain’t got time to die”), “No Friend Of Mine,” and the obligatory party rocker, “Way Too Late (To Go Home Early Now)”.
Vividness is in fullest effect on “Run A Mile,” where our hero has to run to the river and swim across state lines to throw off the posse on his tail for, from his point of view, being falsely accused of raping a young woman. To hear him tell it, it was her idea, he should have known better, and, while the river may kill him, that’s a far preferable fate than the one that’s chasing him from behind. You can feel this one; feel the drying semen on your pants as you run through the Ozark or Appalachian back country on a hot morning, driven on by a sense of self-preservation. Among other things, it’s a great song to run to.
BR549 never received as much attention or love for their later stuff than they did for their earlier stuff, and I can’t help but wonder if Big Backyard Beat Show and Coast To Coast Live were just too disappointing enough to come back from. Maybe it wasn’t just me who became disenchanted and stopped following them.
– “That’s What I Get,” “Ain’t Got Time,” “Run A Mile,” “No Friend Of Mine,” “Way Too Late (To Go Home Early Now)”
– “I’m All Right (For The Shape I’m In),” “Tangled In The Pines,” “No Train To Memphis,” “Movin’ The Country,” “When I Come Home,” “Honky Tonkin’ Lifestyle”
– “She’s Talking To Someone (She Ain’t Talking To Me)”
Filed Between: Coast To Coast Live and Brad (Shame)
Song Notes: After the jump
- That’s What I Get – This record sounds great, starting here.
- I’m All Right (For The Shape I’m In) – great.
- Ain’t Got Time – This roars. Man, this is on fire.
- She’s Talking To Someone (She Ain’t Talking To Me) –
- Tangled In The Pines –
- No Train To Memphis – Love it.
- Movin’ The Country –
- Run A Mile – Verses are sweet. Really down and dirty. You really get a sense for what the narrator’s going through. Great running song.
- When I Come Home –
- No Friend Of Mine – RAAAWWWWKKKK!!!
- Honky Tonkin’ Lifestyle –
- Way Too Late (To Go Home Early Now) –