My Kind of Country

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

Album Review: Jason Eady – ‘When The Money’s All Gone’

When The Money's All GoneJason Eady’s new album (his third) is produced by Kevin Welch, and was recorded in Texas, where the Mississippi-born singer-songwriter is based, although the state most frequently mentioned in his lyrics is Louisiana. His initial influences were country, but along the way he fell in love with Texas singer-songwriters, and his music falls on the modern folk-leaning singer-songwriter side of country with blues elements and a very Southern vibe; the record label, meanwhile, is pushing this album as “blue-eyed soul”. Whatever the genre, the end result is very good. Eady is a very poetic writer with an interesting voice, and the lyrics repay close attention. It is disappointing that the lyrics are not included in the liner notes, which claim they are available on the artist’s website (not currently the case). The first time I listened to it I did so paying close attention to each of the songs, and I was enraptured. The second time, I had it on while doing something else, and it did fade into the background, thanks to the lack of variation in tempos and lack of country radio-style obvious hooks. It’s definitely worth investing some time in listening to it.

The album opens arrestingly with the jaunty bluesy-gospel vibe and dominant harmonica of the instantly likeable sinner’s ‘God Fearing Blues’, with backing vocals from the fellow-Texas-based songwriters who make up the Band Of Heathens. The narrator sounds less than depressed as he tells us:

“I got baptized when I was ten
I got a little dirty so I did it again
The preacher said ‘son why are you back so soon?’
I said ‘let’s get this done, I got things to do’
I was saved in the morning
And back that afternoon

Well, I sing ‘Hallejujah’ and I shout ‘Amen’
And I wrestle with the devil and sometimes I win
(Sometimes I lose)
Well, I hate to disappoint you
But I got these no-good living, white line loving, roadhouse singing, good time, God-fearing blues”

A long instrumental outro to this song leads into the title track, another highlight, which Jason wrote with Walt Wilkins, who produced his last album, the excellent Redemption. Along the same lines musically as the previous song, it is a biting response to current economic issues:

“Everything’s had and nothing is owned
Aorund it goes until the money’s all gone…

Lose a little and you can scream and shout
You gotta lose big before they bail you out…

But when the money’s all gone
We’ll get back to work, get back in the garden, get back in the dirt
It’s an ill wind doesn’t blow some good
We can put it back together the way that we should
It might not be the worst thing after all
When the money’s all gone.”

Also in the same vein are the enjoyably mellow ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Fine’, the brooding ‘Watering Hole’ (written with Scott Davis) and the very visual ‘Travelling Show’ (written with Kurt South). ‘Evangeline’ has a Cajun feel with more Band Of Heathens’ backing vocals and accordion, but is one of the less ambitious lyrics. ‘Judgment Day’ (another Scott Davis co-write) is a lyrically rather dark and fatalistic gospel number, but sounds positively hypnotic.

The one track which Jason has not written or co-written is Adam Carroll’s ‘Cane River Blues’, which fits in neatly with the original material. An interesting, doom-ridden story song about a poverty-stricken Louisiana sugarcane farm laborer who ends up headed for prison after shooting the trooper who killed his drug dealing brother, it is set to the same mid-tempo bluesy groove as most of the tracks.

Although he never ventures far up-tempo, there are some very nice slower moments, which (alongside God Fearing Blues) are my favorite tracks. ‘Cry Pretty’ is a lovely, conversational piece about the awkward emotions of an unexpected meeting with an ex:
“Damn, you sure look just like I remember
It’s too bad things turned out like they did
Got that same look in your eyes now
Last time I saw it you were leaving

Has anybody ever told you, you sure cry pretty?
Stand tall, move with grace
Has anybody told you, you sure cry pretty?
Your tears fall, don’t leave a trace …

It’s time for me to go, I hope you understand
I’m sure you’ll be fine once I’m gone
I’m sure there’s someone out there you can turn to
Just keep your head up, girl, you’ll be fine”

Also very conversational in its style, ‘Maybe I’ll Stay A While’ is the engaging and slowly unfolding picture of a man who has spent years travelling to avoid thinking about his former love, but one cold December day in a cafe, he has clearly reached a point where he is too tired to go on:

“Lately I’ve been thinking
Grown a litle tired
Grown a little stronger than I realize
I’ve started to remember what life feels like
Before I started thinking of you…

It’s warm in here and it’s cold on the street
Maybe I’ll stay a while”

My absolute favorite track is the subdued confessional story song ‘Promises In Pieces’, which Jason wrote with Gordy Quist of Band Of Heathens and Scott Davis. It is probably the most “country” track, with some subtle strains of fiddle, and lap steel played by Colin Brooks, also of Band Of Heathens. It opens:

“I saw Jesus in the corner, He was talking to my friend
They both looked my way and turned around
I guess I should remember all the trouble that I’ve been
It’s just promises in pieces on the ground

Well, I was drunk and tired and busted the day he took me in
And offered me protection from myself
I guess I should have told him I’m no kind of friend
Well, I guess he found out the day I left”

The antihero steals his friend’s gun, and the friend gets arrested for the crime in which he uses it, leaving the narrator to reflect somberly,

“Yesterday they hanged a man and I couldn’t run any more”

There is no redemption here, as the song closes very effectively with a repeat of the first verse.

Grade: A-

When The Money’s All Gone is available from Amazon and other major retailers.

5 responses to “Album Review: Jason Eady – ‘When The Money’s All Gone’

  1. plain_jo September 15, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    I positively can’t wait to get my hands on this CD……but unfortunately the money’s all gone. I love his songwriting.

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