My Kind of Country

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

Album Review: J P Harris & the Tough Choices – ‘Home Is Where The Hurt Is’

home is where the hurt isI tend to be wary when it comes to the “modern outlaw” kind of country artist; too many of them are a bit too rock-influenced for me. But J P Harris and his band the Tough Choices are not only the real thing, they’re very good indeed. They also have the advantage of some excellent songs on their latest album.

‘Give A Little Lovin’ is a pacy almost rockabilly tune about trying to get a little romance going which makes an entertaining opener.

‘A Breaking Heart’ is even better, a glorious fiddle and steel dominated shuffle about seeking refuge in a honky tonk. ‘One For Every Day’ is another great drinking-to-get-over-her song.

The bitter ‘Every Little Piece’ offers a more vengeful attitude to a cheating ex:

I hate you with every little piece of my broken heart…
Here’s to you dying alone and still crying
Never again feeling loved

‘South Oklahoma’ has a loping Western feel tinged with melancholy.
In the Waylonesque ‘Old Love Letters’ the protagonist decides to burn these tangible reminders of a lost love, but finds it doesn’t help.

The title track is the highlight of a very strong album. The prominent fiddle and steel underline the pain in a classic styled country barroom weeper:

It’s hard being one in a house built for two
No, I can’t stand the silence
I run from your ghost
So I run to the places that you hated most

Sometimes you crave that which hurts you the most
No, I can’t stand the silence
I run from your ghost
So I run to the places that you hated most
From the bottom of this bottle everything looks alright
Home is where the hurt is
So I stay here each night

The quietly resigned ‘Truckstop Amphetamines’ has an unexpectedly pretty melody as he sings about being tired of the weary life of a struggling musician, a theme also tackled by ‘Maria’.

The only track which didn’t do anything for me was the rocking closer, ‘Young Women and Old Guitars’. Everything else is excellent. Harris isn’t an outstanding singer, but he is a very capable one, and his songwriting is of a very high standard, while his band backs him in solid country fashion. This is highly recommended to country fans.

Grade: A

One response to “Album Review: J P Harris & the Tough Choices – ‘Home Is Where The Hurt Is’

  1. Pingback: Occasional Hope’s top 10 albums of 2014 | My Kind of Country

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