My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Single Review: Andy Griggs – ‘Cutthroat, Montana’

The single Cover

The Single Cover

I opened my e-mail the other day, and I found this song waiting for me in my inbox! Now, I vaguely recognized the name Andy Griggs, but I couldn’t think of any of his songs. After a quick trip to his Wikipedia discography, I saw nothing that even sparked any recognition at all, so I listened to this new single, and let’s say I got a good impression.

Now this may sound weird, but “Cutthroat, Montana” reminds me of Sugarland’s “Stay”  Let me explain myself. First of all, it’s even more sparse, just Andy and his acoustic guitar playing (“Stay” has an organ plus a guitar). His voice shines through, and he gives a great performance; although not as good as Jennifer’s respective performance on “Stay”, it’s still impressive. It’s hard to find these rough performances in modern singles, so I was surprised.

Second, “Cutthroat, Montana” and “Stay” both revisit classic country stories that have been sorely lacking from most mainstream country today. While “Stay” is a great spin on a cheating song, “Cutthroat, Montana” is a song that involves fighting and some death, something rare in the sterile radio feel-good stories of today’s mainstream country.

In a nutshell, the story is of a guy who loves a girl, and fights to save her life, with a twist at the end. It’s a simple idea for a song, and not really a new idea, but the details included in the song make it entertaining and different. Lines like “It was as cold as a well-digger’s ankle in Cutthroat, Montana.” make the song unique and give it character. The story is old-fashioned as well, like a western showdown, with wagons, lanterns, trains and knives all playing a role.

My only complaint is that the last part of the song is a little unclear on the exact fate of all the characters in the song, but the general idea is enough to get the meaning. Maybe it’s just me, but the lyrics just get a little muddy at the end. It doesn’t hurt the song too much, but for new people listening to the song, it might be hard for them to understand it.

Looking at Griggs’ past albums, and seeing him on the covers, I expected some poppy song à la Jimmy Wayne (Sorry Rainbow!), but I was proven wrong with this song that is very country, if not exactly novel. The lyrics are hard to follow at first (It’s taken me about 10 listens and I think I’m finally getting the entire story, I just don’t want to spoil it here.), but the performance and production are stellar. Sadly, I don’t see this song being a hit, let alone charting, but it sure deserves a chance on radio, even though it probably won’t get one.

Grade: B+

Written by Max D. Barnes and Skip Ewing.

See a video of Andy practicing “Cutthroat, Montana” in the studio here.

Buy this single off iTunes, here.

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