My Kind of Country

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

Album Review: Jamie Richards – ‘All About The Music’

all about the musicOklahoma-born Jamie Richards is one of my favorite Texas Red Dirt/country (with an emphasis on the latter side) singers, as he has a strong, distinctive voice as both singer and songwriter, and he is back with a fine self-produced set of entirely self-written material. His own band provides solid backings, particularly impressive being the multi-instrumentalist Milo Deering who at various points plays steel, fiddle, viola, dobro and acoustic guitar.

The excellent opener, ‘I’ll Have Another’ (written with Shannon Carpenter) is a great song with a wearied feel about a country singer whose “life is held together by rusty guitar strings”. His traveling lifestyle has led his wife to walk out, leading to a spiral of decline as he drinks away the pain:

I always say I’m gonna give it up this time
As a pretty girl brings a shot up to the stage

If I can’t have the one I want
Then I’ll have another
A glass of whiskey can’t take the place
Of a friend and a lover
But it’s all I know to do
Sit here and drown the truth

‘Never Gonna Hear It from Me’ is a melancholy sounding ballad with a gently soothing melody as the protagonist accepts that she doesn’t love him and decides to stop wearing his heart on his sleeve by breaking away:

You only come around
Cause it makes you feel so good
That someone really loves you
Even if you never could

‘Doesn’t Change A Thing’ (written with Shella Stephen) is a sad fiddle-led song about losing a loved one, and finding ordinary life goes on unaltered. An emotional vocal brings out the protagonist’s pain.

The romantic ballads, the melodic ‘All Time High’ and ‘Let Me Love You’ have tender vocals and are both very convincingly delivered.

Another song with a very strong melody line as well as a neatly crafted lyric is ‘Bottle Of Wine, which was co-written with Wayd Battle, and which I like a great deal. Meeting an alcoholic friend, the protagonist compares the lover who has healed his own emotional scars to the drink his friend can’t live without:

I said, “You’ve never seen me without pain
Cause I found the one who closed the door
On a shattered life that I don’t live any more”
I said, “Don’t get me wrong, I know just where you are
My wounds have healed, but I’ve still got scars”
He offered me a drink and I said “No, I’m fine
Cause I finally found the right bottle of wine”

Milo Deering’s atmospheric steel guitar helps set the mood for the haunting minor-keyed ‘Man In The Neon Moon’. This presents a group of bar room characters, most poignantly the title character, a “king among losers” who “relives his pain at that table every night” and advises others against following his example.

‘Privileges Of Youth’, co-written with Walt Wilkins, relays fond memories of youthful irresponsibility now long past, and is pretty good.

‘She’s Cold As That Beer She’s Drinking’ (a former Texas chart single) has the electric guitar mixed a bit too loud for my taste, but it is a good song about a honky tonking woman trying not to show weakness by falling in love, which is one of the most commercial moments here.

Also a bit on the loud side, but well done, the muscular Southern rock of ‘Older The Bull’ celebrates maturity and experience, getting in a few digs at the current state of country music, which he says “feels like the heart and soul has slowly slipped away. On a similar theme, but a better song, the beaty title track takes a few sharp swipes at untalented stars who look good posing on stage with guitars they can’t play, singing songs with “nothing to say” written by someone else.

This album is a refreshing reminder that good country music is still being made, at least if you look away from the major labels.

Grade: A

3 responses to “Album Review: Jamie Richards – ‘All About The Music’

  1. Evan and Stacey McInnis June 1, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Thank The Lord for people who still appreciate real country music! I’ve known Jamie for over 10 years and one thing is for sure, he will always deliver the sound that he loves and believes in! Salute old friend, looking forward to Mexico!

  2. Ronald June 3, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Thanks for reviewing this album. It’s difficult to purchase a physical copy of this album here in the Netherlands. so thank god for Spotify. Great album!!

  3. Pingback: Occasional Hope’s top 10 albums of 2013 | My Kind of Country

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