My Kind of Country

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

Album Review: Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers – ‘Hold My Beer vol. 1’

hold my beerWade Bowen and Randy Rogers are both artists who have flirted with mainstream success and major labels but have now returned to their Texas roots. They have toured together for years, and Lloyd Maines has produced their first duo album together. The result is on the country end of Texas Red Dirt, and is thoroughly enjoyable with some excellent songs.

The enjoyable buddyish ‘In The Next Life’ sees the pair sharing their musical experiences in Nashville and Texas, a good humoured review of good times and bad they cheerfully conclude:

All you need is one good friend
And in the next life
We wanna be ourselves again

More seriously they set out their stall with ‘Standards’, which deals with the problems with the music business in Nashville, and their own need to stay true to themselves:

Record man came and sat me down
He said, “I got some songs for you
There’s one about a dirt road
I really think you oughta do”
So I gave it a listen
And it wasn’t all that bad
But it ain’t me so I shook my head
That’s all there is to that

Well he just smiled
And he rolled his eyes
He said “How can I make you see?
We just need one big hit
The rest’ll be history
If we could find a way to compromise
You could be the next big star”
I said, “Man you might be right
But I don’t care if you are

I don’t have hits
I’ve got standards
Tell me how can I sell out
If I barely sell at all?”

Also excellent is the gently paced western story song ‘El Dorado’, the story of a weary ‘old desperado’ who is dying alone:

That is the fate of the old desperado
Better the angels to claim you than the long ride alone
Someone would have long ago found El Dorado
So good luck to you, cowboy, I’m moving on

Moving into sad song territory, ‘Til It Does’ is a rueful song about that realisation too late that a neglected loved one is about to reach breaking point:

She always wanted me to want her
Now I will
She always needed me to come home
Now I know
How that feels
These days I’m seein’ things
In ways that only missin’ her reveals

You don’t want the way it is
‘Til you’re wishin’ for the way it was
That’s how a heartache finds afool
It don’t happen ‘til it does

‘Hangin’ Out In Bars’ has a more upbeat feel musically, but is equally heartbroken musically, as the protagonist drinks away his unhappiness trying to get over his ex.

The pair take on western swing with the tongue in cheek ‘Good Luck With That’ about unwise decisions in life.

While there are no poor songs here, ‘Ladybug’ is a bit of a throwaway, but is still quite catchy and pleasant sounding.

There are a few covers mixed in with the new songs, including two Haggard tunes. The relaxed ‘It’s Been A Great Afternoon’ about the aftermath of a big night out fits in nicely, while the resigned ‘Reasons To Quit’ is best known from Haggard’s duet with Willie Nelson, and is excellent here. ‘I Had My Hopes Up High’ is a pleasant, energetic mid-tempo story song by Joe Ely, about a young man leaving home and the colourful characters he meets while hitchhiking.

Overall, this is a highly enjoyable album, and one I warmly recommend to anyone who likes real country music.

Grade: A

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